Dr Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, Visiting Researcher, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, the University of the Witwatersrand, started working in the automotive manufacturing industry in the late 1990s, first as an apprentice at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. After qualifying as an electrician (engineering) under the Automobile Manufacturing Industry Education and Training Board, incorporated into the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority, Mashilo worked as part of an engineering maintenance team at Ford. After obtaining his National Diploma in the field of Engineering while working at Ford, he studied labour law following his election as a full-time shop steward for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. Mashilo was later appointed by the union to various national responsibilities, including automotive and new tyre manufacturing sector co-ordinator, chief negotiator in the Automobile National Bargaining Forum and the New Tyre Manufacturing Industry Bargaining Council, and head of department for organising, collective bargaining and campaigns. He furthered his studies while working for the union and holds an MA in Labour Policy and Globalisation from the University of the Witwatersrand (2010). He holds a PhD from Wits (2019). Dr Mashilo's PhD study focused on economic and social upgrading in global production networks, with the automotive manufacturing industry as the empirical case. He pursued his PhD while based at the South African Communist Party headquarters, where he started in October 2013 as head of department for media and communications. Dr Mashilo’s research interests are based on his MA and PhD studies: economic and social upgrading, global value chains and production networks, and therefore changes in technology, work methods, production co-ordination and their implications for work, workers and their responses.