- Department of Organisational and Labour Studies, University of Western Australia
Robert Vincent Lambert


  • 1988 - Doctor of Philosophy, Witwatersrand University
  • 1978 - Master of Arts (Sociology), Warwick University, United Kingdom
  • 1976 - Bachelor of Arts (Majors: Sociology and Psychology), University of South Africa
  • 1973 - University Education Diploma, Natal University
  • 1967 - Bachelor of Economics (Majors: Economics, Business Management, Industrial Psychology), Natal University
University Experience
  • 1998 - UWA, International Center, Committee for Students Abroad Studies, University of Natal
  • 1997 - Co-ordinator Asian Business Program, Faculties of Economics, Commerce, Education and Law, University of Western Australia
  • 1993 - Senior Lecturer, Department of Organisational and Labour Studies, University of Western Australia
  • 1990-1992 - Lecturer, Department of Industrial Relations, University of Western Australia
  • 1989 - Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Australia
  • 1987 - Acting Head of Department, University of Natal
  • 1986-1988 - Member of the Board of Control of the Law School’s Center for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Natal
  • 1985-1988 - Faculty of Social Science Rules Committee, University of Natal
  • 1985-1988 - Committee for disadvantaged students
    (The Forum Committee was responsible for organizing public speakers for a weekly general meeting of staff and students that had as its objective discussion and debate on a range of contemporary issues. The Committee for disadvantaged students sought to monitor the adjustment and educational problems black students experienced at University as a result of the discriminatory education they had previously received. Recommendations had to be made to Senate on issues such as English as a second language and other support systems deemed necessary).
  • 1984 - 1986 - Appointed External Examiner - Industrial Sociology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown
  • 1983-1988 - University Forum Committee, University of Natal
  • 1983-1988 - Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator of the Industrial Sociology program, University of Natal
  • 1983-1988 - Appointed External Examiner - Industrial Sociology, University of Cape Town
  • 1982-1988 - Departmental representative, Board of the Faculty of Social Science, University of Natal
  • 1980-1982 - Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Natal
Journal Appointments
  • 1993-to present - South African Labour Bulletin, Editorial Board
  • 1979-1988 - Editor of South African Labour Bulletin
  • 1979-1988 - Editor of Monthly Labour Briefings
Community Service
  • Secretary of the Church & Work Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bichops Conference
  • Member of the European Economic Committee on Aid & Development for South Africa
  • Organised four International Conferences involving 11 countries from the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asian and East Asian regions. The first in May 1991, brought together 26 delegates; the second in December 1992 involved 100; the third in November 1994 drew some 160 participants and the fourth in Calcutta in 1997 involved 220 delegates. These Conferences have become influential not only in the policy debate within Australia, but also internationally.
  • Developing shop steward training programs for the Australian Services Union in the areas of communications, membership involvement, consultative committees, and enterprise bargaining.
  • Running courses for the Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA) on the economy and on the implications of global economic change.
  • International Affairs Officer, Trades & Labor Concil of Western Australia
  • Co-ordinator, Indian Ocean trade Union Initiative
  • Western Australian representative at the Australian Council of Trade Union’s International
  • "Dancing with dictators: South Africa and Indonesia", lead article, South African Labour Bulletin, vol.22, n.1, February 1998
  • "Labour Relations and International trade", in The Routledge Encyclopaedia of International Political Economy, Jonathan Perraton (ed.)
  • "Global Dance: Factory Regimes, Asian Labour Standards and Corporate Restructuring", chapter in the book, Globalisation and Patterns of Labour Resistance, Jeremy Waddington (ed.), London, Mansell
  • "Australia’s Historic Industrial Relations Transition", a chapter in the book, Globalisation and Labour Relations, Peter Leisink (ed.), London, Edward Elgar
  • "Asian Labour Markets and International Competitiveness: Australian Transformations", in International Review of Comparative Public Policy, vol.10 (Special edition on Labour Markets in Transition: International Dimensions)
  • "Beyond Compromise: Constructing Global Social Movement Unionism", a paper presented at the 14th World Congress of Sociology, Montreal, July 1998
  • "Bargaining on Stability - Indonesia’s New Labour Movement: Class Interests, state Authority and Global trade", a paper presented at the Conference, Non-State Actors and Authority in the Global System, Center for Globalisation and Regionalisation, Warwick University

  • 1997
  • "Globalisation and Industrial Relations Change in Australia", translated into Korean for The Journal of Korean Labour Studies, Korean Institute of Labour Studies and Policy, Seoul National University, May 1997
  • "Authoritanian State Unionism in New Order Indonesia", State and Labour in New Order Indonesia, R. Lambert (ed.), UWA Press
  • "International Labour Standards and Labour Reform Politic sin New Order Indonesia", State and Labour in New order Indonesia, Rob Lambert (ed.), UWA Press

  • 1996
  • "Asian Trade and Australian Labour Market Restructuring", Pathways to Asia, Richard Robison (ed.), Allen & Unwin
  • "The Attack on the Australian Trade Union Movement", International Union Rights, London, vol.3, Issue 3
  • "Regional Solidarity and Union Rights", lead Article in International Union Rights, London, vol.3, Issue 2, special edition on the Asia/Pacific Region
  • "Asian Trade and Australian Labour Market Restructuring", Conference of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia & New Zealand (AIRAANZ), February 1996
  • "Global Dance: Factory Regimes, Asian Labour standards and Corporate Restructuring", a paper presented at an International Conference on The Globalisation of Production and the Regulation of Labour, organised by the Centre for International Labour Studies and the Industrial Relations Research Unit, School of Industrial and Business Studies, Warwick University, September 1996

  • 1995
  • "International Labour Standards: Challenging Globalisation Ideology" (with Donella Caspersz), the lead article in a special political economy of Asia edition of Pacific Review, vol.8, n.4, Routledge, London, September 1995
  • "Consultative Structures and Processes in the Pilbara Iron Ore Industry: A Case Study of Goldsworthy Mining", (with Ray Fells), Role Models for Change: Case Studies in Productivity, Performance and Employee Involvement, Industrial Relations Series, Commonwealth of Australia, Camberra
  • "Globalisation and the Restructuring of the Metal Industry in Australia", Journal of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, May 1995
  • "Cosatu and the Challenge of the Asian Economies", South African Labour Bulletin, vol.19, n.1, March 1995

  • 1994
  • "Worker Rights and Economic Development in the Asian Region: The Emergence of a Social Charter Movement", Social Dimensions of Development, L. Jayasuriya; M. Lee (eds.), Paradigm Books, Perth

  • 1993
  • "Australian Tariff Reform and Economic Integration into the Asian Region: A trade Union Critique", National strategies for Australasian Countries: The Impact of the Asian/Pacific Economy, Robert Leach (ed.), Queensland University of Technology. Also published in the proceedings of the 1993 AIRANZ Conference, Ron Cullus (ed.)
  • "Authoritarian State Unionism in New Order Indonesia", AIRANZ Conference, Ron Cullus (ed.)
  • "Trade Unionism, Race, Class & Nationalism in the 1950s Resistance Movement", a chapter in the book The Structure & Experience of the Making of Apartheid, P Bonner (ed.), Ravan Press, Johannesburg
  • "Constructing the New Internationalism: Australian trade unions and the Indian Ocean Regional Initiative", Social Alternatives, vol.11,n.4, January 1993. Also published in South African Labour Bulletin, vol.16, n.5, May/June 1992
  • "Cosatu, the ICFTU and dictatorships in Asia", South African Labour Bulletin, vol.17, n.3, May/June 1993
  • "Authoritarian State Unionism in New Order Indonesia" and "Australian Tariff Reform and Industry Restructuring", Papers presented at the Conference of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia & New Zealand (AIRAANZ), Sydney, February 1993

  • 1992
  • "A Critique of the Black Review into the Construction & Maintenance Operations of the Building Management Authority", a report prepared for the Trades and Labour Council of Western Australia, April 1992
  • "The Waterside Reform Process & the New Internationalism", in the Journal of the Australian Maritime Union, January 1992
  • "An analysis of contemporary developments in the Australian trade union movement"" a paper presented at the Conference of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia & New Zealand (AIRAANZ), Gold Coast, January 1992

  • 1991
  • "State of the Union: An Assessment of Union Strategies", The Economic & Labor relations Review, vol.2, n.2, December 1991
  • "A Social Code of Conduct relating to Australian Companies investing abroad & foreign Companies exporting to Australia", Trades & Labor Concil of Western Australia, December 1991
  • "Restructuring in Australia & the construction of the new internationalism", in the Journal of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, July 1991
  • "Off-shore investment trends: are they relevant to the Australian Public Sector?", presented to the State Council of the Public Sector Union, Perth, December 1991

  • 1990
  • "Kilusang Mayo Uno & the Rise of Social Movement Unionism in the Philippines, Labour and Industry, vol.3, n.2 & 3, June/October 1990
  • "Whither the New International Labour Studies?", Development & Change, Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, vol.21, n.2, April 1990
  • "Social Movement Unionism: The Urgent Task of Definition, Comments on Peter Waterman’s note on Social Movement Unionism", Newsletter of International Labour Studies, The Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
  • "Toward the New Internationalism: Boom or Bust - Feast or Famine?", published in Avante, Journal of the Construction, Mining & Energy Workers Union, November 1990
  • "The growth of Social Movement Unionism in Philippines: 1980-1986", a paper presented to the Conference of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia & New Zealand (AIRAANZ), Melbourne, July 1990
  • "The influence of regional developments on Award Restructuring in the Australian Metal industry: the case for a new internationalism", a paper presented to the State Council of the Metal & Engineering Workers Union, Perth, May 1990
  • "Public Sector Reform: do regional factors impact on the process?", presented to the State Council of the Public Sector Union, Perth, May 1990
  • "The history of waterfront internationalism: a strategy for the future?", a paper presented to a mass meeting of the Waterfront Workers Federation, Fremantle, April 1990
  • "Australia’s regional integration: the challenge for labor", presented to the Council of the Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia, March 1990
  • "Contemporary developments in the Philippines’ labor movements", Asian Studies Conference, Brisbane, July 1990

  • 1989
  • "Political Unionism in Comparative Perspective", Institute of Social Studies, the Hague

  • 1988
  • "The re-emergence of Political Unionism in South Africa" (with E. Webster), a chapter in the book, Popular Struggles in Africa, Robin Cohen (ed.), James Curry, London, April 1988

  • 1987
  • "Batons and Bare heads" (with Phil Bonner), The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism in Twentieth Century South Africa, edited by Stanley Trapido & Shula Marks, Longman, London
  • "Trade Unions, Nationalism and the Socialist Project in South Africa", South African Review, vol.4, Ravan Press, September 1987
  • The re-emergence of Political Unionism in Contemporary South Africa" (with E. Webster), to Institute of African Studies, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg
  • "Interpreting the Politics of the 50’s: Problems and potential of oral history in a politicised present", History Workshop, Institute of African Studies, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, February 1987
  • "Trade union developments during the 1950s in South Africa", to the Conference on South Africa in the 1950’s, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford, October 1987
  • "The state, reforms and the labour movement in the 1980’s", to the Conference South Africa in Transition: the Process and Prospects of Reaching a Post-Apartheid State, Baruch College, Business school, City University of New York, October 1987

  • 1986
  • "Populism, nationalism and class in South African protest: historical perspectives", presented to the Conference of Sociologists of Southern Africa, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg
  • "Trade Unions and National Liberation: Past perspectives and current strategies", to the Conference on The Economy in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Centre for Southern African Studies, York University, September 1986

  • 1985
  • "Political Unionism and Working Class Hegemony in South Africa", Capital, Labour and Society, McGill University, Canada, December 1985. Also translated into French as "Le syndicalism politique et l’hegemony de la classe ouvriere: perspectives sur le South African Congress of trade Unions, 1955-1965", Travail, Capital et Societé 18:2, November 1985
  • "Trade Unions and Political Strikes in South Africa: an historical perspective", a paper presented to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, National shop stewards seminar, Pietermaritzburg, June 1985
  • Management and the Current Township Crisis", to Institute of Personnel Management (Southern Africa), Durban
  • "Current Developments in the labour field in South Africa", to joint meeting of European and North American Funding Agencies, Brussels
  • "The Impact of American Transnational Corporations on Labour Relations in South Africa", to United States Catholic Bishops Conference, Washington

  • 1984
  • "Batons on bare heads: The Strike at Amato Textile, February 1958" to Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. This was also presented at the History Workshop, Witwatersrand University, February 1984
  • "Defining Political Unionism", a paper presented to the Conference of Sociologists of Southern Africa, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, July 1984
  • "The state, the law, and the working class action in South Africa", paper presented to the Labour Law Conference, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg
  • "Trade Unions and Politics in South Africa", to National meeting of Shop Stewards of the Sweet, Food and Allied Workers Union
  • "Industrial Health, trade Unions and Management in Contemporary South Africa" to Regional Conference of the South African Nursing Association, Durban, May 1984
  • "Labour Reform and Problems of First Line Management", to National Management development Foundation, Durban
  • "Labour Reform, Managerialism and the role of Occupational Nurse in post-1979 South Africa", Regional Conference of the South African Nursing Association, Durban
  • "Political Unionism and Working Class Hegemony" to Conference on The New International Division of Labour and its Implications for Industrial Relations, organised by the Institute for International Cooperation and Development, University of Ottawa

  • 1983
  • "Changing Labour Market in the 70’s: State Strategies of Reform", Black Trade Unions in South Africa, Core of a New Democratic Opposition Movement? Fridrich Ebert Foundation, Bonn, November 1983
  • "State Reform and Working Class Resistance 1982", The South African Review, Ravan Press, Johannesburg, July 1983
  • "SACTU and the 1956 Industrial Conciliation Act", South African Labour Bulletin, vol.8, n.6, May 1983
  • "Shop Floor Struggle: Managerial Perceptions", South African Labour Bulletin, vol.8 & 9, Sept/Oct. 1983
  • "Independent Labour in the 70’s", Social Indicator, June 1983
  • "The Politics of the State Reform in South Africa", Social Indicator, Natal university, Institute of Social Studies, June 1983
  • "The State, reform, and Working Class Action 1982", to Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Pretoria
  • "State Institutional Controls and the Labour Market in South Africa" to a conference on The New Independent Trade Unions in South Africa: the basis of a New Democratic Opposition?", Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Bonn
  • "Repression and Reform: the South African state in the 1980s", to Catholic Institute of International Relations, London

  • 1982
  • "Trade Unions and the Community", to Sweet, Food and Allied Workers Union, regional meeting of Shop stewards, Durban
  • "Striking at Amato. Trade Unionism and the Shopfloor", to a conference of the Association of Sociologists of Southern Africa, Cape Town
  • "A History of Black Trade Unionism in South Africa" to regional meeting of the Federation of South African Trade Unions, Empangeni
  • "Perspectives on trade union struggles in South Africa", to Metal and Allied Workers Union regional meetings of Shop Stewards, 1981 and 1982
  • "State, Economy and Working Class Organisation in South Africa", to conference on Labour Movement Responses to a Changing Global Economy, Centre of Concern, Washington, Geneva Conference

  • 1981
  • "The Concept of a Living Wage: A New Dimension in South African Politics", to South African Breweries National Management Conference, Durban
  • "The South African state and the new labour reforms: between coercion and consent", to Gossner Institute, University of Mainz

  • 1980
  • "Political Unionism in South Africa", South African Labour Bulletin, vol.6, n. 2 & 3, September 1980
  • "Unemployment in South Africa", to South African Bishops Conference, Pretoria
  • "Political Unionism in South Africa", to Association of Sociologists of Southern Africa, Maseru, July 1980
Research Projects and Research Funding Activities

During my eight years in the Sociology Department, University of Natal, I transformed the Department’s research and community involvement profile. I was instrumental in personally raising the equivalent of $470 000 in research funding from Europe and North America through contacts that I had established during my overseas visits and through various committees that I served on. As a result of my successful fund raising I was able to establish, manage and also contribute my own research work to a new Departmental Research Unit that came to employ twelve full time researchers The Unit was involved in the following areas of research, which also aimed at contributing directly to critical community needs.
Industry and labour Project (four researchers) This project analysed economic trends, the position of individual companies, wages, job granting, etc.
The South African economy and the new microelectronics technology (one researcher) The project aimed at examining the diffusion of microelectronic technology in South African industry and the particular industry strategies this represented.
Race, ethnicity, industrialisation and worker organisation in Natal (Two researchers) Racial divisions have characterised South Africa’s workforce. An important element in Natal’s industrialisation was the importation of Asian indentured labour in the 1860s to work in the cane fields. In the early stages of industrialisation (1920s), Asians entered industry, occupying skilled and semi-skilled positions. Racial tensions were exacerbated by the 1949 riots in Durban. This project explored both the historical and the contemporary situation. Violent ethnic conflicts between Zulu and Pondo workers that left over 2000 homeless were also researched.
Industrial Health Project (Four researchers) This project researched industrial health problems in specific industries as well as examining state health policy and discrimination based on race and class. A detailed survey of the health status of rural workers was a major feature of the work.
The youth unemployment project (one researcher) This focused on the crisis emanating from South Africa’s townships since the youth uprisings of 1984. The events were led by unemployed youth. They became the most politicised elements in South African society. We adopted the research methodology pioneered by the French sociologist Alain Touraine, which he identifies as "sociological interventionism". A week long workshop of 23 carefully selected youth activists from townships nation-wide resulted in an in depth social analysis of political change and the economic crisis of the mid 1980s.

Research Fellowships
  • 1998 - Center for Comparative Labour Studies, Warwick University, UK
  • 1993 - Asia Research Center, Murdoch University
Research and Study Awards
  • 1996-1997 - Asia Research Center Grant for research into the globalisation of the Australian whitegoods industry
  • 1995 - Asia Research Center Grant for research into the globalisation of the Australian home appliances industry
  • 1994 - Asia Research Center Grant for a comparative study of management and labour relations in two Indonesian Companies (Foreign owned and domestically owned)
  • 1993-1994 - Australian research Council Grant for research into Australian based companies moving into Asia
  • 1992 - Indian Ocean Center for Peace Studies Grant, industrial relations developments in the Asian region
  • 1992 - Division of Economics, Commerce, Education & Law, UWA, grant for field work on the Indonesian project
  • 1992 - Asia Research Centre grant, Murdoch University, for translation work on a project on industrial relations developments in Indonesia
  • 1990 - Australian research Council grant (with Ray Fells) for research into industrial relations in Western Australian mining
  • 1989 - Misereor, West Germany, research grant for the study of Comparative Industrial relations in Asia
  • 1980-1984 - University of Natal Research Fund Bursaries
  • 1980-1984 - Scholarship from Human Science Research Council, for Phd study
  • 1977-1979 - Scholarship from Misereor, West Germany, for study in England, MA Warwick University
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Centro de Estudos Sociais MacArthur Foundation
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian