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Intensified strike in South Africa’s footwear sector

12 June, 2014IndustriALL 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”.