The Labour Movement in the Sudan, 1946-1955

The Labour Movement in the Sudan, 1946-1955

The Labour Movement in the Sudan, 1946-1955

The Labour Movement in the Sudan, 1946-1955

Excerpt

For the purposes of this study, the term 'labour movement' is defined as the organization of labour for what may be described broadly as trade union functions, namely, as the Webbs put it some fifty years ago, 'a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives.' More recently, Professor G. D. H. Cole has argued that

whatever else a Trade Union may do, no body is commonly thought of as a Trade Union (or regarded as one by the law), unless one of its main purposes is the defence of its members' economic interests. A Trade Union is essentially a body of workers designed to do for its members by combination things which these persons, acting in isolation, cannot do for themselves.

A study of the origins and development of trade unions cannot, however, afford to overlook the underlying economic, social, and political forces which caused them to emerge when they did and by which they have since been influenced.

Unfortunately, very little, if any, attention has been devoted to the study of labour problems and labour organizations in the Sudan. Apart from a few reports published by the Labour Department of the Sudan Government, and various odd references here and there in the Governor-General's Annual Reports, and similar official publications, there is nothing on which I could depend. Tothill Agriculture in the Sudan, comprising about a thousand pages, devotes only four to agricultural labour, and the only study of migrant labour in agriculture is a single (though first-class) article published in Sudan Notes and Records. The labour movement itself has hardly been subjected to any serious or systematic study.

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