South African Allied Workers' Union

The South African Allied Workers' Union (SAAWU) was a general union in South Africa.

The union was founded in 1978 as a split from the Black Allied Workers' Union by workers in Durban. It described itself as a federation, with a union in each industry, but this structure was never properly developed, and it was generally viewed as being a single union. By 1980, it had 75,034 members.[1][2]

The union refused to register with the Government of South Africa. It quickly developed strength in East London, where it recruited both employed and unemployed workers. By 1982, most of its leadership had been detained by the country's security forces, including general secretary Sam Kikine. Its remaining leaders fell into conflict with one another, and the union declined. In 1985, it was a founding affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and in 1987 it merged with the Health and Allied Workers' Union and the General and Allied Workers' Union, to form the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Bendix, Sonia (1996). Industrial Relations in the New South Africa. Cape Town: Creda Press. ISBN 0702134538.
  2. ^ a b Miller, Shirley (1982). Trade Unions in South Africa 1970-1980: a directory and statistics. Cape Town: Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. ISBN 0799204692.