Striking workers

Striking workers

Intensified strike in South Africa’s footwear sector


IndustriALL affiliate Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has embarked on a strike. It started on 9 June in the footwear sector, after wage negotiations failed to yield a settlement.

Last week 70 per cent of workers gave their support for a strike through a ballot. This allowed SACTWU to join another trade union in the sector, the National Union off Leather and Allied Workers, that had already commenced strike action. SACTWU’s members joining takes the the total number of workers on strike to about 8,000. 

Workers from the 40 companies that are covered by the bargaining council and some companies outside of the council are demanding a 10 per cent wage increase. Employers are offering 7.75 per cent. Wage increases are due on 1 July 2014.

Unions are due to sit down with employers on 12 June 2014. “Hopefully employers will review their stance tomorrow because there are no winners if it takes too long to resolve, says SACTWU’s National Footwear Sector Co-ordinator, Nazier Armoed. “Both parties are losing, employers and workers but it is also important for workers to win a decent wage increase”.

Settlement reached

SACTWU General Secretary Andre Kriel reported on 24 June:

On Friday, 19 June 2014, the offer was accepted by members. All indicators are that all our members have heeded our call and returned to work by yesterday, 23 June 2014, showing an effective strike.

The settlement package is 8.%, covering a wage increase and an improved annual bonus. Approximately 7000 workers employed in 163 footwear factories nationally will benefit from this settlement.

The increase will be effective from 1 July 2014.