Articles for Terry Bell

South Africa, colonialism, language and China

The whole question of colonialism has come to the fore again, courtesy of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and its vehement objection to the introduction of the Chinese Mandarin dialect to local schools.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 24 August 2015

Mining people for profits

Large scale redundancies in the South African mining sector, running to tens of thousands of jobs, are probably inevitable. But only because of the system in which we have to operate.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 17 August 2015

Playing games with the rights of women

Every year as August dawns there is a media ritual about women’s rights and, on August 9, a positive rash of declarations of intent and remembrances about the 1956 anti-pass march of the women on Union Buildings. But while institutionalised apartheid has gone, the position of women in South Africa and around the world remains demonstrably unequal and, in some cases is worse now than it was 20 or more years ago.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 11 August 2015

SACP’s flag is palest pink

Unity and cohesion remain the slogans for the ANC-led alliance as the three partners echo the claim of last week’s Cosatu special national congress that such togetherness has been assured. It hasn’t. But, with the infighting having gone overwhelmingly in favour of the executive, there are hurried attempts to create a facade of unity as the lobbying continues.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 27 July 2015

COSATU still divided after national congress

Behind a very flimsy screen of unity and cohesion promoted over the past week by Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini, the divisions in the country’s largest labour federation have become even greater. And, amid a welter of contradiction and debates about constitutionality, it is not surprising that so much confusion reigns.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 20 July 2015

Workers ride in cattle trucks of the gravy train

We are constantly being told, as the economy stutters and stumbles, that “we are all in it together”; that we have a “shared future”; that we have a patriotic duty to “build the nation”. And, for all the tub-thumping rhetoric about the evils of capitalism, this will almost certainly be the underlying theme of the Cosatu special national congress next week.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 14 July 2015

Novels by South Africa’s Dickens given new life

“Alex La Guma has come home.” With those words, a visibly emotional Blanche La Guma last weekend received the first book, “hot off the presses” containing three of her late husband’s best-known novels, all of them banned in the apartheid era. The occasion was the initial launch of Alex La Guma - a colossus revisited at the literary festival in the small Western Cape resort town of Montagu.

Terry Bell

News | 6 July 2015

Why trade unions are even more relevant today

Trade unions — as democratic organisations of the sellers of labour — are probably more relevant now than they have ever been. Especially for anyone who feels that democracy is an important concept. Unfortunately, however, most of the unions remain narrowly focussed in a manner better suited to fighting the battles of an earlier era.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 29 June 2015

Is South Africa on a slippery slope?

Are we on a slippery slope to authoritarianism? It’s a valid question to ask since both the Cosatu and the national constitutions have been undermined. And they were both, in their own way, flag bearers of the democratic promise of the new South Africa.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 22 June 2015

New hope for labour movement

There is just the faintest breeze of renewal and democracy wafting through the bureaucratic corridors of Cosatu and disturbing the cobwebs of dogma that have tangled up due process in the country’s largest labour federation.  It comes in the form of the election of David Sipunzi as general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Terry Bell

News | 15 June 2015

FIFA, Qatar and the ugly game

The terrible tragedy of the earthquake in Nepal has been swept off the front pages and news leads by the bribery scandal and arrests at FIFA. But they should be linked because it is the blood and suffering of many Nepalese workers that is a major cause of soccer now being seen as the ugly game.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 8 June 2015

An old lesson to which all should pay heed

“No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent.” So wrote the English poet, John Donne although, for continent he meant planet. Today, this is something that can be applied equally to a village, town, country or continent. Just as it can be to a trade union, business or employer organisation.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 1 June 2015

Progress in public sector wage negotiations, but key issues remain unresolved

My column last week, comparing the pay and conditions of nurses and teachers to those of cabinet ministers, seems to have touched a raw nerve. And mainly among both national and local government employees that I failed to mention.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 25 May 2015

Extraordinary wage inequality among those paid with public money

South Africa is desperately short of nurses and many highly skilled practitioners are now over the age of 50 and nearing retirement. Yet there are estimated to be more than 30,000 South African nurses working abroad, everywhere from Dubai to Dublin.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 18 May 2015

On D-Day for public sector wage agreement, consider lopsided government salaries

Don’t blame workers for poor management. And feel some sympathy for any competent managers, whether in a large school, a government department, or parastatal who often have to deal with a legacy of maladministration, all too often accompanied by levels of corruption.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 11 May 2015

NUMSA plans revolutionary, working class party

Faced with what appeared to be a veritable swamp of ideology at a “socialist movement” conference in Boksburg last week, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has embarked on the process of creating a “Marxist, Leninist, revolutionary working class” political party. However, Numsa also facilitated the Boksburg conference, where representatives from 11 political groups or parties and a number of trade unionists and individuals made up the approximately 150 attendees.

Terry Bell

Opinion | 27 April 2015