This book has presented the results of a research project on workplace democracy, conducted over the past 20 years in a number of African countries, in particular in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Perhaps the most striking phenomenon in the studies is that the workers and the grassroots union representatives and activists yearn for participation and democracy and keep doing so, against all odds and over a long period of time. Upon independence, they were mobilised to participate in their countries’ development, with lofty political slogans. But participation, like so many post-independence initiatives, made a ‘false start’ (Dumont 1962): the worker representatives were manipulated and their trade unions were in many countries confiscated by the oneparty state, as was described in Chapter 2. Under the following structural adjustment programmes governments were sidetracked by the Bretton Woods institutions, and when multi-party democracy was added to Africa’s development agenda hopes soared among workers and their representatives that they were also going to have a greater voice in the running and policy of the workplaces where they were employed. A number of the case studies reported in Chapter 7 and 8 report these expectations, and the questionnaire survey results reported in Chapter 9 confirm a high and militant participation propensity. But no support was forthcoming. Neo-liberal globalisation of the economy implied the withdrawal of the state as an active partner in labour relations, and the trade unions appeared to be weary of defending participation which they associated with failed regimes of socialist signature. The only initiative came from the management and employer side, spurred by the successes of human resource techniques the world over. At the workplace, the worker representatives who had first been at the mercy of political intrigue and indoctrination were now handed over to the greed for increased productivity of their managers. In as much as workplace democracy still exists today in Africa, it is either a remnant of institutional arrangements introduced by one-party states (Tanzania and Zimbabwe – see Chapter 8), or a broad spectrum of more or less informal and casual procedures that may give workers a change to express opinion and suggestion but where management remains in full control (see Chapter 7). In a number of the countries studied, trade unions tried to enter into managerial and policy decision making through an extension of traditional negotiating procedures, but also with little effect. A lot of overlap, confusion and confrontation in worker representation through trade union structures or participation forums was caused by the fact that the trade unions had not developed a concept, a policy framework, let alone a ‘vision’ on participation that could be used as reference for their officers, their members and the workers in general.