Puleng Phaka (NUMSA 2nd Deputy President), Andrea Schäfer (CRC 1342)
Puleng Phaka (NUMSA 2nd Deputy President), Andrea Schäfer (CRC 1342)
Review of a 4-week research stay

Andrea Schäfer, researcher in the A03 project "Worlds of Labour: Coverage and Generosity of Employment Law", was on a research stay in Pretoria, Rosslyn, Johannesburg and Silverton from 27.02.2023 to 25.03.2023. On site she cooperated among others with the South African trade union "National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa" (NUMSA) and the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria to conduct expert interviews on the topic of "(Dis)solution of labor(regulation) standards in the automotive industry" along the supply chain in this automotive production cluster.

Already in the run-up to the field study, Andrea Schäfer conducted extensive research on the cluster itself, but also on individual and collective labor regulation (labor rights), the ratification of international conventions, social policy and labor market structure in South Africa. She also contacted researchers in South Africa to gain initial insights into informality, unfair labor practices, non-compliance with labor laws and standards of working conditions and types of labor in the automotive industry.

During her stay in the cluster, she interviewed transnational and local car manufacturers and their suppliers along the supply chain as well as the shop stewards in the factories. She was also able to interview union officials from related sectors, e.g. the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), attend strategy meetings of NUMSA, negotiations at the Labor Court in Johannesburg and conciliation meetings of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). Andrea Schäfer also actively participated in the Human Rights Day organized by NUMSA in Hammerskraal with a speech on the topic "Intertwining of Gender and Human Rights" and took part in a NUMSA protest march. Six months after her stay, she is still in active contact with her cooperation partners in South Africa.

Through Andrea Schäfer's field study, it is now possible to gain knowledge and insights into the regional production network and its power structures, into the employment relationships in the automotive industry in the production cluster along the supply chain, into standards of employment relationships and the transitions to precarious and informal employment relationships within the cluster and into compliance, implementation and gaps in labor law regulations in the industry. In the current project, Andrea Schäfer is particularly interested in differences and similarities of structures such as informality, unfair labor practices, non-compliance with labor law in so-called formal employment relationships in international comparison. She is currently planning a publication to illustrate these structures for the South African case study. At the end of next year, Andrea Schäfer will conduct a further field study in India. With the material and findings compiled by Andrea Schäfer, the A03 team would like to investigate the question of the de facto inclusivity and scope of labor law in the Global South. The studies in South Africa and India will be complemented by field research in Mexico, which will be conducted by Heiner Fechner.

Andrea Schäfer is a sociologist (Magistra). She has worked at DIW Berlin, SOCIUM and CRC 1342 on topics such as determinants of gender-specific segregation and income inequality, structural change in gainful employment, transnational capital flows and the emergence and development of standards in labor law.


Worker Protection Worldwide — But Universal? Fechner, H., Mückenberger, U. und Schäfer, A. In: Mossig, I. und Obinger, H. (Hrs.): Mapping Global Dynamics of Social Policy, S. 16-19.

Non-Discrimination in the Labor Market: Global Progress, Growing Gaps. Fechner, H., Mückenberger, U. und Schäfer, A. In: Mossig, I. und Obinger, H. (Hrs.): Mapping Global Dynamics of Social Policy. S. 20-23.

Andrea Schäfer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57095
E-Mail: andrea.schaefer@uni-bremen.de