About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Jul 1985: De Fleuriot, Gerard

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

GDF     I am secretary to the Commission of Church and Work of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference.

LR     We've been told you're also active with the trade unions, is that correct?

GDF     That's right. Now this commission, there are many facets to the commission. There's a research department that does research partly for the church, partly for the unions. There is a department that co-ordinates the action of all movements that are working in the worker field, like the Young Christian Workers, the adult movement, the Adult Movement of Christian Workers, the Children's Movement and also movements that are operating exclusively in the middle class like the CSA, the Christian Social Action and a youth group called YCW. They have a specific way of dealing with circumstances, with situations.

     Then there's a third department which deals with migratory labour, hostels and mines, the mines as well. These officially are my functions. I have a long association with worker movements because before that I was National Chaplain to the Young Christian Workers and the Young Christian Workers are very, very involved in the labour field in South Africa and somehow they have initiated many unions in many places. You know how it works, the Christian Workers?

LR     I actually don't.

GDF     What I know is you don't have it in the States.

LR     Young Christian Workers.

GDF     You have it in Detroit I think or Chicago. Little groups of young workers who are all in factories, ordinary people who come to meet once a week or once a fortnight to discuss situations that are occurring in their workplace or in the community. The action of the movement is in three stages. In the first stage it's to apprehend the situation. It is to see, judge, to apprehend the situation to see what the situation is made of, what are all the circumstances related to a particular situation. In the second step they try to see what are the causes of the situation, what makes the situation like this, what are the consequences if the situation is allowed to carry on and eventually the third part is action, what do we do in that particular situation.

     So in that approach young people are trained to a certain militancy in their work. In the judge part they also confront the situation with a Christian aspect, how is the situation, for or against the plan of God. So, for example, you have a situation on the shop floor, something like somebody being assaulted or something, the situation is judged, not the people in it, but the situation is judged in terms of what are the Christian values of the situation.

PK     Where does the militancy come in? You said they are instructed in militancy.

GDF     Instructed is not a good word because it comes gradually that young people, being faced with certain situations, are discovering that they can do something about it. So gradually they come to turn from passivity to action, from fatalism to doing something. Because you see trade unions are usually mostly concerned with adults because young people very seldom are caught by the unions unless they are really in the thick of it themselves; in a problem they will go to a union. But normally you find that most of the people who are running unions are adults so unions are so involved that they have no time for dispute, to cater for the younger people. They are the most vulnerable in fact.

LR     It also seems as you describe it to function as some sort of a means of bringing the trade unions and the church together. It's these people, the youth, who subsequently go on to more traditional trade union movements. Is that a concept?

GDF     No I don't think that's at all the purpose of the movements nor the commission. We see a very distinctive demarcation between what the church can do and what the unions can do and we won't stand at all for Christian unions, for example.

LR     You won't?

GDF     No, completely out of our philosophy because we think that people have to bear Christian witness in any union where they are. We can't divide the world into Christian unions and non-Christian unions. There's enough division among workers already so our approach will be that we have to face the reality of the working class and in South Africa we also see the working class not just in terms of black or coloured because we have to see that more and more we are going towards an a society which is split culturally and racially and that you will have eventually a minority middle class in the black community, it will be there, and you will have also specially among Indians and coloureds a very poor working class community. It could have been true in a certain sense, it is true somehow of the whites, but there is not a consciousness of belonging to a class because of the apartheid system.

LR     Do you see that changing at all at the moment?

GDF     What is changing?

LR     Do you feel any sense of you said there isn't a sense of class because of the apartheid system. I asked if that is changing or is very much the same as it always has been.

GDF     I think it's very much the same as what it has been in the white working class because they have so many privileges. In fact it's this white working class that sends the government to power so they will keep their privileges for as long as they can.

     (A German lady now joins in the conversation)

XX     May I ask you in the meanwhile something which I didn't understand because I'm not so involved in English. You are developing young people - what's the name of the organisation you are working for? Who are the people which the young workers ...?

GDF     Young Christian Workers, YCW. In German JAJ. It always kept the word Christian.

     Have you heard anything about trade unionism? You've been briefed on that?

PK     A little bit.

GDF     I think in spite of the turmoil it takes a political aspect. The deep strength I believe, therefore, it's a personal opinion, the deep strength of change for the working class will come not from political organisations but from trade unions. Therefore I don't believe it will come from a national forum, UDF and many other things but from the mere force of the unions. That's a very deep conviction I have and I say that because I see it based on facts that the real gains that are made in terms of economic things are brought by the unions in the working world.

XX     Don't you think that these organisations must work together because I think the trade union might be only one group and they are going from the bottom and so I think maybe the other organisation may be helpful.

GDF     Everybody has its place in the puzzle but the real gains are going to be made in terms of economics. It's when a poorer population is going to attain a certain degree of autonomy, real responsibility. And we must see also that we have a past, a long history of non-political involvement, non-community involvement. The government has privileged a feudal system over a democracy, there's no doubt about that. If you want me to take a few hours the mere fact that the chieftainships are still around, that people have to still pay tax to their chiefs even if they work here and have no connection whatsoever, a voluntary tax that they have to pay otherwise they lose their hut. This is how evil is this migratory labour, that they have no right in the city and they have very precarious rights at home. You can have then a so-called homeland like the Ciskei who can blacklist all their bad so-called subjects and they can't get work in the city any more so they have to come home and die at home or be a vegetable at home.

     I don't know if you feel how complex the system is. It's a very, very well thought out system. There's no doubt that there are masterminds behind the system and it's not going to go like this, why it will flare up in Soweto or elsewhere. But the deep gains are going to be again at the level of where they have a constituency and that's the important thing, that the trade unions by their concept have a constituency and they have constantly to see that this constituency responds otherwise they're nothing. So the challenge is constantly on an organisation like this. The Ratepayers' Organisation or something else doesn't have the same pressure because they're not back to the wall but when the guy is at work on the bench he's got his back to the wall, he's got nowhere else to hide. So this is where the union becomes such a powerful force.

     I believe that the unions are going to lead a lot of, although they might not lead by way of talking, but they are a deep force, compare the iceberg, they will be the one under. They will support any political gain but not political gains that will be at their expense obviously.

PK     What is the government doing? I mean this must be a recognised occurrence.

GDF     Well if you study the history ...

PK     What are they doing? Undercut the unions?

GDF     Well they've done in the past a lot of things very successfully. If you study the history of trade unionism here you will find that the government managed to wipe out in the fifties and sixties all the unions that had clout but with the seventies there is a birth of a new kind of union. It will take too long to go into that, I am sure you know about it, but a different style of union who took the pains to establish a very, very solid base at shop floor level. Unions like FOSATU, General Worker Unions, Swift Food and a few others, Municipal Workers in Cape Town, they spent a lot of time training shop stewards and that has made a core and given solidity to a movement which otherwise had no tradition because tradition has constantly been undermined by government practices. The best unions, the more dedicated unions, funnily enough come from the Communist Party, but then it was riddled with division.

     So from the seventies you have emerging a very important trade union movement and today there is a work stoppage in Pietermaritzburg. They have brought the town to a standstill. I have listened this morning to the radio and they say that through intimidation workers are not going. Now when you listen to Radio Moscow you also have to translate, so when you listen to our radio you also have to translate. It means that it has been very, very well organised. And last night at my church there was a meeting of the trade unionists who were organising, some of them organising in Pietermaritzburg and the church was it was good. The stayaway two months ago for the funeral of that trade unionist was a very big success but reported by the radio and the press it was a flop. We have made through our research department and the universities, we have researchers with the employers as well which shows that this stayaway two months ago was more successful than the stayaway of But you see definitely now there is a collusion between the press, so-called liberal press, and the government. So worker news is filtered and diluted.

POM     Can I perhaps go back a couple of steps, I couldn't hear your initial remarks. For an African working in the city from a homeland, that African is required by his particular Chief to pay tax to the homeland or to the Chief?

GDF     To the Chief.

POM     Is it on a tribal basis or on a homeland basis?

GDF     Chief, it's the Chief, his immediate Chief.

POM     Is this even in the cases of, say, the six homelands that have not officially achieved 'independence', the worker is still required to pay to the tribal Chief?

GDF     It is a traditional thing. When they used to cultivate mealies on their plot they used to give something to the Chief, or once a year a cow or something like this.

POM     Given the homeland system how difficult is it for Africans, union organisers to organise when a workman knows that if he goes on strike he can lose his job and if he loses his job he can be shipped back to his homeland and that his job can be taken by a black or an African who has a residential right in an urban area? Are there not a lot of disincentives for blacks to join unions?

GDF     Well everything is against joining unions and the people who are in unions they know that they have everything against them, including the thousands that are waiting at the gates. So this is why trade unions in their actions are going to be moderate because it is not enough to have a flare-up and to gain something. You need to gain it for posterity. So your gains must be slow enough that it becomes part of a new system. That is worker strategy throughout the world. You don't march on the seat of power and with a new constituency adopt this or else because you get else in the face. But gradually they gain an hour here, they gain an increase there, they gain better conditions here and they try to get this passed into law so that later action can be taken legally so that we're changing the legal system itself. But this has to be gradual because otherwise with the power they have they can't achieve much more, they are not politicians themselves.

POM     What I'm driving at, are not blacks, in a sense black workers or potential black workers, in competition for jobs intentionally divided among themselves because somehow residential rights in urban areas and others belong officially to homelands?

GDF     But you see this still is such it is a big problem because the system is such that if it is in the advantage of the employer to employ people from the homelands, he just presses a button and some official from some government department gives him a list of people he can import from Transkei or somewhere, you see. But if it suits him to employ the locals he will do so and he can play on all these laws. Influx control is a tap, the more you open the tap the more people flow into the city, the more job seekers there are, the more your salaries go down.

POM     So what specific mechanisms have African unions been employing to counteract those power? You say they have this dilemma of how easy it is to divide one black against another black.

GDF     The unions? Actually the union has played very carefully and very astutely. They have worked from their power base so far and have been extremely successful to win better working conditions and salaries because this is the place where they're strong. They don't have means of lever, of pressure on township authorities, so their action has been more in the labour field. But some unions have also taken an interest in community problems and the wider perspective but these wider things depend on political issues. At the moment they are not strong enough to force that through but a time will come where workers, through their stayaways, are going to signify that they have power and it seems that when the workers from SASOL, 7000 of them, were kicked out, locked out by management, it seems that the government put pressure on SASOL to take them back because ballot boxes were going around the unions to see if there will be a national strike. There's never been one. So you see gradually they are gaining a de facto power.

POM     If somebody from the homeland who had a permit to work, say, in Durban, became a union organiser, wouldn't the employer summarily dismiss that person and in effect have him transported back to the homeland?

GDF     It's a complex question. He can dismiss the chap because he's not doing his work well. This is usually the way to do it. Then you have no recourse. But if he is dismissed for his union activities he is protected by law.

LR     You have a law for protection?

PK     But it's a matter of ...

GDF     Well this law has been passed for whites and extended to everybody.

PK     So then the person has to prove that he was just ...

GDF     It's difficult to prove. It's what is called an unfair labour practice. Very difficult to prove.

PK     How many times has that ever been brought ?

GDF     Oh several times and successfully.

PK     In favour of the government?

POM     In favour of the black workers?

GDF     Yes, it has been brought.

PK     Is that right? So people have confidence in this law and the employers have a respect for it?

GDF     It has to be said that not, let me not say something that I would regret, not all law courts are corrupt in the world. Is that good enough? So you do have justice when you can pay and it has been to the credit of churches that they have supported. I know of some churches who have funds supporting victims of victimisation.

PK     We've also heard of innumerable cases of trade unionists being held in prison for long periods of time without trial. That's what we've heard recently in the States, and that this is when we talk to the threatened union.

GDF     That's a continuous thing. The people of SAWU have been in and out of jail, of detention without trial. In the Ciskei the persecution is on and off, it's a daily event. People are murdered, people have their mothers burnt, their house burnt. That happened in the Ciskei. You know people have suffered very, very much, trade unionists. Their lives are threatened in some parts of the country. I do believe it's one country.

LR     You mentioned earlier that you felt that changes were being made and were being appropriated into the system.

GDF     Wait a minute, it depends on what changes. There are some changes.

LR     Right. Do you think, and of necessity this has to be gradual, but do you think that perhaps the demands are going to increase at a faster rate than the rate at which these changes can be incorporated into the system to make it more just and if so what do you think is likely to happen?

GDF     You see the answer can refer to all sorts of trends. I personally do not believe that any violent change will be to the benefit of the poorest. If you look at all revolutions throughout the world, finally they were back to square one and another aristocracy takes over and drives them where they didn't think they were going. I think among workers there is a wisdom and a prudence that you don't have intellectuals and middle class intellectuals and students who see far quicker or further and where things can lead. But you will find that the working class, all over the world actually, is more conservative because they stand to suffer most.

     I remember a friend of mine from Canada telling me that he had worked in Brazil and the students were scorning him and his group to be so prudent and when (was it 1964 the regime changed to the Generals?) this student a few years later came to him and said, "You know you were perfectly right. When I was arrested I could hear the cries of the workers being beaten up. I was never beaten up because my uncle was an advocate so now I understand." So I think we have to understand that people who have no protection, who have little education, can't think fast, they're going to measure their steps very carefully and what they want is they want that the poorest and the most backward can come forward together. That's Marxism a little bit on the quiet you know but I think there's a lot of truth in it.

POM     Have you found that the labour movement in the US has been sympathetic, helpful or constructive in its encouragement of black trade unions in SA and if so how and if not, how not? And what should they be doing?

GDF     What the US mustn't do is to send us the CIA to sponsor certain unions. That's one.

LR     What means 'to sponsor'?

GDF     To finance. That's one. The second thing what the unions can do I think is to conscientise what the American economy does to the world because you see when we are talking of the American working class, I've not lived long enough in America but the impression I get is they will sit here well above our middle class, even black. It is not impossible to think that the rapport of America and its economy and the rest of the world would be the same as the rapport here between a wide or a middle class people with money towards their workers. You see the thing that I want to make, it's profoundly unjust perhaps, that's the way it comes to me because after all if Ford invests here, I don't think they re-invest here. What do they do then with our part of the money? That profit, I stand for what Marx said, that that money belongs also to the workers. So then in that conception you see my problem?

POM     Take an organisation like the AFSCIO(?) which, and I'm not an expert on the American labour movement but I have lived there, to me has never apparently taken any strong stand with respect to the problems facing African unions in South Africa. What do you think they ought to be doing in a very specific, practical way, steps that they could take, that could be implemented?

GDF     Well I think that they have to educate their members because our problem, some of our problems are your problem. So it is important that workers in rich countries are able to feel a solidarity with workers here. They're not going to feel that if there is a fortune difference between the two because they will feel that they do not belong. The same with the German workers. I was in Germany this year, two months ago, and I am starting to see a world strategy of high finances which is to impoverish, I think Reagan helps that actually, to impoverish Western Europe whereby the Western Europe capitalist will soon be able to re-import their capital in Europe because the manpower will be so poor in Europe that they will be just as any Tom, Dick and Harry in Hong Kong or Singapore or South Africa. So then what game are we playing?

     I think it is important to create a world solidarity among workers and what American unions can do is to make studies of the conditions of workers and what does this mean to the American workers?

POM     The conditions of workers?

GDF     Here but not just South Africa. You see we are at the moment on the flagpole, South Africa being South Africa, not that we shouldn't be, but I mean the problem is not just South Africa because I've visited other countries and I'm not just saying America but it's France, England, Germany, all countries with capital. They are using poorer countries to draw in fact more money. I was told in a study group in Paris that America was taking four dollars out of Latin America for every dollar invested every year. So if this is true it does pose a problem because these countries are going to go poorer and when their natural resources are finished America wipes his hand, sends a rocket on Mars or some other place to find the same product. I say America but it can be Britain. Britain has done that on a wide scale for the last two centuries.

XX     May I ask you what you understand by reinvest? What might how to reinvest the money in the same country because if you only think of the economical sphere of course it's OK, the rich get richer and they take the money and we have got the problem, I think, in Germany that we earn money by money only, not only does Siemens earn about 60% of its earnings by money, not by the products they do. So what about reinvestment, how to reinvest in a country?

GDF     Well if the money, the profit that Siemens has made here, is exported to Germany then it's so much less money in this country and it is workers of this country that have helped to produce that money, perhaps with the capital. We can argue which proportion should go back but the fact is that at the moment the world economy is organised in such a way that it creates poverty under the pretence of development.

XX     The money that goes off your country and our country doesn't go to the workers as in our country. That's the problem.

GDF     No it goes to somebody who just buys a new yacht and puts it in Monaco and somebody else goes on it.

XX     So I think that's a main question how to reinvest so that it's the sharing of the lower classes. What do you think about how to reach it?

GDF     Yes, well, it's a complex question with complex answers. I think economists have to step in here. My role is limited.

POM     Well an American worker, for example, who can buy any commodity whether it's manufactured in Japan or Hong Kong or South Africa at a cheaper price will do so. So in that sense there's no cross-solidarity of classes. What I'm coming back to, again, is what should American union leaders be doing to bring about, within first of all their leadership structure, a change in attitude, and secondly among the rank and file of a change in attitude.

GDF     But are these leaders going around the world to see the damage done and being able to put it across when they come back? I think that's the first step. If they are coming to a country whether it's Kenya or here or Singapore, to see what is the quality of life that is being developed as a result of American development money then they can go back home and say it's just money, it's not developing at all, it's creating under-development. I think we need to discover that as a trade union leadership so that they can put this across. It's not by boycotting a few of our ranges that's going to do the trick but it can be a means to sensitise people to the problem.

     I went to a retreat in France years ago, a spiritual thing, and the chap was talking about exploitation and he took the example of these bananas we had for lunch which came from Guadeloupe in the West Indies and he described how we can buy them there in France. So after that you don't want to touch a banana. I don't know if it's the solution but you can conscientise people. Now his point was it is a sin, it is part of the sin of the world. And sometimes we are in solidarity in sin. Sometimes we have to eat this banana and we are part of the world sinful, we are in solidarity with that sin. So I think it's important that sort of preaching because it displaces sin as an individual thing into a more social aspect.

POM     I don't know whether this was brought up earlier because I wasn't able to hear, about the Sullivan Principles which some people see as a step forward and which other people see just as a ploy that allows a certain degree of cosmeticry to be achieved. What impact do you think that has, impact on the development of African trade unions? Are they helpful or are they not? Are these things that the unions themselves should be indigenously fighting for rather than it being something like coming from - ?

GDF     I don't think the impact is very great to be honest, nor is the EC code of conduct.

POM     Why?

GDF     As it comes to me I don't think it has a great impact but I think the impact there is a sort of psychological impact.

XX     What means 'impact'?

GDF     Effect. I think all these are the sort of psychological effects to force an issue and I think that researchers and history will find out whether all these didn't have an impact in fact to pushing the government. I think it had a certain impact, mostly indirectly, but I think these commissions had something positive about them by the fact that it took trade unions out of limbo and although it didn't give them much I think it was just a sort of crack in the wall where the unions were able to get in. So these Sullivan and EC codes of conduct, I don't think by themselves they had much. I don't think American companies stuck to it to be honest with you. But I think it gave a certain confidence maybe to some workers but in general we're all very negative about it because we think that it doesn't work out.

POM     Is there a problem among unions in general here that black workers or African workers and white workers get paid different rates of pay for doing the same work?

GDF     The real problem is, yes, for the same work, yes, but I think - it's difficult to answer that question because it varies a lot per industry. If you take the mines there is a big problem because you have a very, very militant white, very strong white union which tends to keep all the privileges. But in fact this privileged status or salaries are working against the system. It's auto-destructive when you have a sort of, what's the technical word for it, reserved employment. What's the word we use? Apartheid in jobs. Job reservation. Job reservation is self-destructive because if you have a white bricklayer who has to be paid so much an hour for his job, soon enough somebody will come and attack him and force from another race group.

     Now there has been a regime of exemption to this law of job reservation before it was at its heyday you see. Somebody needed, say, a secretary in Johannesburg so they put an advert in the paper and a lot of people will phone and they intend to give half the salary of what the last one was getting so all the white ladies who are applying for the job, "Oh sorry, the job is taken", and so they could select and then they are left with so-called non-white. Then they go to the minister and they say, "Look we have all these applications, not one white. Can we have an exemption?" Certainly. So this firm is saving R500/R600 a month. So job reservation in fact, which was made to protect the privileged class, is turning against it. This is because of this tremendous industrial development of the sixties and seventies. I don't know how it works now in the scale of crisis. There were some studies but it will still work because they want even to make more money.

XX     So you think this system helps the blacks? No? It only gets a question of white poor people and you get the rest of the blacks from ...

GDF     It doesn't help the blacks but it doesn't help the whites either.

XX     That's the problem. So you think they must join each other?

GDF     The day there will be a solidarity between the poor without any skin colour connotation, that day will have solved 50% of our problems because at the moment it is impossible. There are certain conditions, certain images have been created which makes it impossible overnight to come to that.

POM     Are there any other practical steps you'd suggest?

GDF     I'm not a politician. I'm just a parish priest.

POM     We're interested in going back and talking to union people in the States and telling them the experiences we've gone through and what we've learnt from talking to people like yourself.

GDF     I think that the message you must go back with is come and see for yourself what capitalism is doing here. It's long past the time where we talk of races as being our main problem. In South Africa I think the deep problem is an unbridled capitalism. A horse without a ...

POM     Free, absolutely free capitalism.

GDF     A horse, you put a bit here, hold it. When you take this you can just stop. I think that is our problem. You see if you re-interpret the history of South Africa with that analysis you will see that since the beginning of the mines with capitalism the choice oriented itself to exploit the blacks but they started to exploit the whites first on the mines, if you study the history. First they tried the whites, they imported British mineworkers, they didn't know what they were doing, who rapidly unionised themselves so the British were out. They imported Chinese but the Chinese, it wasn't manageable, and then they put a head tax on whole heads that people had to find money. It was a pound a head a year. Where do you get a pound? People have never seen money. So they had to work, they went to work on the mines. That's how they got cheap labour. So it is this capitalism. By 1922 the thing took a turn as a racist capitalism but it could have taken a turn some other way. But our problem is the problem of economics, not race or colour. Because if tomorrow the rich see that it is in their advantage to exploit the whites they will do so.

XX     I think that's all.

GDF     I sound Marxist, eh?

XX     Have you finished because I would like to ask some other questions? I would like to ask you something about unemployment. We have heard that you have got in Durban a trade union for unemployed people.

GDF     I've heard that too, yes.

XX     You don't know about it?

GDF     No.

XX     Because I just wanted to know for what reason and what you are thinking about the change to make these groups? I think they are not going on very well because I thought they have ...

GDF     The trade union, if I interrupt, the trade union for unemployment is never going to be very viable because the force of a union, its constituency, the force of a union is the factory so you have to have because first of all it will be important to bring them together. Many organisations have done so throughout the world but it is a very difficult thing to do because they have no power. You see the union has a means, has a place to pressurise, that's the factory. A ratepayers' association has a place it can pressurise, it's the municipality. But people who have no home to work, where are the points of pressure? It can't be the factory any more.

XX     It must be a political structure.

GDF     It has to be a political structure.

XX     Because they have to press the government to do ...

GDF     But in this country the majority of the people who are not working have no political rights, have no political constituency. So limbo is the word again. So the unemployed here have very little possibilities of action because you want action, you don't want just words, so they have very little means of action.

POM     I would like you, Father, to do one last thing. Louise, Patricia and I were part of the group of Irish girls and men who came here last week to Johannesburg on the strike that was the Dunne Stores in Dublin, and we, because we had travelled from the United States were able to get in but what we have been doing is from everybody that they would have met with is collecting messages from them that we are sending back and will play to them and will have disseminated in Ireland. I would like you to send a message to them expressing ...

GDF     They are on strike?

POM     They went on strike one year ago because one girl, one year exactly a year ago on 19th July, working at Dunne Stores in Dublin, she used to handle South African goods and she was suspended by management. Eight of her co-workers went out on strike with her. They have been on strike for one year. When Bishop Tutu was on his way to Stockholm he met with them at Heathrow and invited them to visit him on the anniversary of the strike. They arrived last Tuesday morning and were detained by the authorities at Johannesburg. So they went back but we will be seeing them next Tuesday or so because we are leaving on Sunday night and we are taking back messages from everyone they would have met with here, messages of solidarity, of support with them in what they're doing and how people here hope that their effort and their integrity and their conviction will inspire the people of Ireland to take an even stronger stand against apartheid. So I'd like if you'd identify yourself and just say what you want.

GDF     My name is Gerard, I am parish priest of two Catholic churches in the south of Durban. I am former National Chaplain of the Young Christian Workers and I am secretary to the Commission of Church and Work of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference. I would like to convey all my solidarity to the Irish workers who are taking action in their own area. It is very important that we build a world solidarity of workers who are fighting for a new world, a just world. I am fully with you and I bring you this message through your friends. I won't say 'Amen'.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.