The ownership, management, and supervision of South Africa's
automobile industry has since its inception been overwhelmingly white.
It was also highly oppressive in that the foremen, armed with powers
of hiring, promotion, and dismissal, ruled the shopfloor with grim
determination. Black workers, especially in the 1970s and 1980s,
increasingly confronted these labour relations practices with collective
industrial action that sometimes made enterprises ‘ungovernable’.
Over the last few years, however, structures and agreements have risen
that serve to eliminate confrontations and place profitability at the
centre of everyone's concerns. This consensual approach to labour
relations is informed by corporatism, and involves the participation of
unions, employers, as well as other collective bodies, in state institutions.