African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4171

Full Length Research Paper

Exploring global unionism to inform South African ICT sector union strategy

Matebese Hlalele
  • Matebese Hlalele
  • School of Management, University of Johannesburg, P. O. Box 524 Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Govender Cookie M.
  • Govender Cookie M.
  • School of Management, University of Johannesburg, P. O. Box 524 Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 12 October 2021
  •  Accepted: 18 March 2022
  •  Published: 31 May 2022


Unions are prominent stakeholders in employment relations (ER), representing and protecting the rights of their members and other employees on labour-related issues that the workforce is overwhelmed with within the workplace. The purpose of this article was to examine global unionism to advise South African (SA) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector labour unionism. It focuses on the recent trends of global literature review to answer five research questions. The rationale is to gain a more theoretical understanding of union roles, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, global unionism, SA unionism, SA ICT unionism, union challenges and strategies. Globally, unionism drives advancements in socio-economic policies, calling for social dialogue between the tripartite alliances partners in ER: Unions, employers, and the government. However, SA ICT union leaders are weak when negotiating for equity, socio-economic justice, and the advancement of employees in their careers. This research study revealed that union challenges include poor social dialogue, ineffective strategies to sustain membership, inefficient partnerships, and non-collaboration between management and unions. By the results of this study, a strategic framework was proposed for union effectiveness to provide Human Resources (HR), ER and union leaders with a practical management tool. Thus, this study contributes by expanding the body of knowledge on global and SA ICT unionism.


Key words: Employees; employers; human resources; employment relations; information and communications technology; socio-economic advancement; social dialogue; South African; unionism.