Will South Africa's emerging black trade union movement get a helping hand from the powerful American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)?
An AFL-CIO delegation is currently touring South Africa to see if requests for aid from trade unions here should be granted.
The timing of the visit appears bound to draw strong sympathy for local trade unions from the AFL-CIO. Labor strikes are generally on the rise in South Africa , and the AFL-CIO has walked right into a potentially serious confrontation between dockworkers in Port Elizabeth and the state-run South African Transport Services (SATS).
Black dockworkers were fired by the SATS for engaging in a work go-slow aimed at forcing the SATS to allow them outside union representation.
The AFL-CIO was scheduled to meet with officials of the SATS - South Africa's largest employer - but has decided not to because of its unwillingness to let workers join the union of their choice.