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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Colonial State and Wage Labour in Post-War Sierra Leone, 1945-1960: Attempts at Remaking the Working Class
Author:Abdullah, Ibrahim
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subjects:industrial workers
labour relations
labour history
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
Abstract:The process of remaking the African working class from above which took place in Sierra Leone in the period after 1945 essentially involved the incorporation of African workers into a system of industrial relations that would guarantee them a stake in society with regard to jobs, wages, housing and general working conditions. One aspect of this process was the attempt by State and labour department officials to institute bargaining machinery that would channel working class agitation into predictable ends. The new machinery, a Wages Board and a Joint Industrial Council, designed by Edgar Parry as an antidote to the militant tradition represented by the Youth League, was not an unqualified success. Once it became apparent that State officials and representatives of capital were using the new machinery to keep wages down, workers and their unions refused to cooperate. Three major strikes - two in the mines and a general strike in 1955 - rocked the colony between 1950 and 1955 and forced officials to grant workers' demands for a wage increase and the right to direct negotiations. The granting of such concessions empowered workers and their unions to demand more, to the extent that the new machinery became rather superfluous. Notes, ref.