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Apparel body lenient on wage compliance
Jul '11
It has been clarified by the Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa (AMSA) that it does not intend to order closure of the units which have not implemented the minimum wage agreement finalised with the National Clothing Bargaining Council.

Johann Baard, Executive Director at AMSA, while speaking at the 24th Annual Labour Law Conference, said that rather than ordering closures, they want all the employers to fully comply with the set standards.

This would allow all the employees in the industry to enjoy advantages of the fair labour practices, while trying to bring parity in respect of situations in which employers compete with one another, he added.

The Bargaining Council's new wage agreement requires the companies to attain 70 percent compliance level with regards to minimum wages implementation by March 2011, 90 percent by January 2012 and total compliance by April 2012.

Factories that have fallen short of complying with the new wage phase-in are expected to close this month, leading to over 6,000 people becoming unemployed in the domestic apparel manufacturing industry.

The Council insists that the clothing manufacturing units should pay minimum basic wage of Rand 336 per week to their workers.

According to AMSA, it and the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) were determined to develop apt policy measures to extend a strong base for fair competition in the clothing and textile industry of South Africa.

Baard said that there is an urgent necessity for an alternative wage model for the industry. He remarked that the units which were compelled to down their shutters owing to implementation of the new wage policy by Bargaining Council are an apt example of the policy change issues confronting the industries.

Over 50 percent of the registered factories fail to comply with the norms set by the Council regarding the employment conditions, and the Council has obtained 450 writs of execution. While these writs are under execution, the employers are coming to grips with organised labour over developing a new wage model for the industry, Baard said.

Baard stated that it is required to base the growth of the clothing sector on lucrative production conditions while staunchly focusing on development. He further added that the growth target should then be used as a doorway for enhancing the manufacturing value chain.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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