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AFL-CIO considers aid to black unions

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.

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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.

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