• 10 tips to find bargains

    Susan Erasmus gives advice on how bargain hunters can get the most bang for their buck.

  • Inside Labour

    Labour's bitter breaches need to be seen in historical context, says Terry Bell.

  • Rich getting richer

    Economists differ on how to tackle the chasm between rich and poor, says Leopold Scholtz.

See More

Veil lifted on SA union landscape

Mar 04 2013 11:30 Sapa

Workers in the mining and construction sectior are well represented by unions.

Related Articles

Mines fuelling union rivalry – Cosatu

Union wants new vision for labour

Unemployment over 30%

Numsa takes right to picket to court

SA workforce shrinks - survey

Incentives for firms to employ youth


Johannesburg - A third of all workers in the formal, non-agricultural sector in South Africa are members of trade unions, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Monday.

"In the last 12 years, the rate of unionisation in South Africa increased by 12%, from 26% in 2000 to 29% in 2012," the SAIRR said.

By contrast, the rate of unionisation in developed countries in 2011 was 18%.

South Africa's most unionised sector in 2000 was mining and construction, at 34% of all workers in the industry.

In 2012, it was the community, social services, and utilities sector, at 47%. Public sector employees made up the bulk of this figure.

Trade union membership in the public sector grew 18% between 2000 and 2012, but decreased in the mining and construction, trade, and finance sectors.

Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) affiliate membership accounted for 75% of the total number unionised.

SAIRR researcher Boitumelo Sethlatswe said rival union membership figures came from Cosatu and therefore could be underestimated.

Most of Cosatu's members, at 38%, were elementary workers or labourers. Workers in management positions made up only 2% of its membership.

"According to Statistics South Africa, unionised workers earned more per month in 2011 than workers not belonging to a union," SAIRR said.

"The median wage for unionised workers was 129% higher, at R5 500 compared with R2 400 for non-unionised workers. Some 52% of Cosatu members earned more than R5 000 a month, compared with only 22% of non-Cosatu workers."

While two thirds of workers were not unionised, a large number enjoyed the benefits of unionisation through the 48 bargaining councils in the various sectors of the economy, said Sethlatswe.

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

cosatu  |  sairr  |  unions


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

Brought to you by BizNews

More from BizNews

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Business tips from the world’s billionaires

We share some of the world's most successful people's greatest tips and who knows, this might just lead you to your first million!


Luxury living

5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
What to expect inside a royal nursery

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

How do you see your boss? He/sheis:

Previous results · Suggest a vote