Back to All Events

Program 27: 'Phansi - Down with Labour Brokers', A South African Story of Precarious Workers

  • Workers United Multi-Purpose Room 7th Fl 305 7th Avenue New York, NY, 10001 United States (map)

Phansi: Down with Labour Brokers - A South African story of casual (i.e., contingent/precarious) workers, failed by an outdated industrial union movement. More than twenty years since the end of apartheid disparate groups of workers for whom very little has changed - failed by the state, betrayed by a corrupt and outdated traded union movement and subjugated by modern labour broking practices – find solidarity through the work of an advice office.

The documentary PHANSI follows the forms that this solidarity takes by tracing the worker and advice office interactions through the eyes of a young worker-turned film-maker. Ultimately PHANSI explores the question of what a future worker movement might look like – a question faced by precarious workers globally.

The film, shot over five years, has transformation as a central theme.

• Over the past 20 years capitalism has transformed so that bosses are selling labour to other bosses but worker protections in the form of industrial unions has not transformed in accordance.

• In South Africa the lack of transformation among the working classes(especially women) is captured through the eyes of Jacob, whose life is transformed from unfairly dismissed worker to budding young film-maker through his interactions with the Casual Workers Advice Office.

• Jacob and his own transformation is juxtaposed with that of the workers served by the CWAO and the transformation in the nascent worker movement in the process of finding its feet

PHANSI, overall, is a feel-good story of how this group of, predominantly women, workers stand up for their rights through self-education and solidarity. (2018, 1 hr 14 min)

Shorts (to precede):

Mancala - After a series of suspicious explosions at various bauxite mining operations around the world, the global industry comes to a standstill. (Screenplay Adaptation) (2018, 3 min)

Tantalum - A film against children's slavery in rare earth mines in the Republic of Congo. Two raw material traders have a negotiation of prices on the phone. Little by little they get disturbed in a strange and unexpected way ... (2018, 5 min)

Get tickets on Eventbrite here!