Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #317) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #317)
Transcript: The same weapon was used from 1954 against the United Tobacco Company, an international concern with branches in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Trouble started at the firm'sDurban branch when African workers demended higher wages and recognition of their trade union by the firm. The company had a small directorate and clerical staff of whites who handled the technical side of the business but the actual factory was run entirely by African workers. The wages of the Natal workers, black and white, especially Africans, have always been the lowest in the country and one of the principal objects of the trade union movement in that province has been to close this gap.
In South AFrica unions of pass carrying workers cannot be registered. Africans are legally compelled to carry passes and the effect of this restriction is that although Africans are free to form trade unions such unions cannot be recognised by the government and the majority of the country's firms follow the same policy. In addition a union may be refused registration or deregistered if it accepts pass bearing Africans as members. This prohibition has led to the creation of two parallel unions in the same industry, one for Africans and the other for whites, Coloureds and Indians.
Consistent with this practise the tobacco industry had two parallel unions, namely, the African Workers Tobacco Union which was not recognised either by the government or by the firm, and the National Union of Cigarette and Tobacco Workers for Whites and Coloureds, which enjoyed such recognition.
Extent and Medium: 1 page