Home / Knowledge / News / Apparel/Garments / South African garment sector needs new approach to wages
South African garment sector needs new approach to wages
Feb '13
South African clothing industry needs to adopt a more differentiated approach to wage-setting that enforces basic standards of employment, but tolerates low wage if it can be supplemented with productivity-linked pay, according to a report written by the Professors of University of Cape Town,  Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings for the Centre for Development and Enterprises (CDE).

Prof.  Nicoli Nattrass told fibre2fashion, “We need to drive out low wage and low productivity employment, in order to support higher wage and higher productivity forms of employment in South African garment manufacturing sector.”

Allowing low-wage producers will accommodate the needs of lower-skilled workers as well as the unemployed and poorer consumers who purchase basic clothing goods rather than the pricier, branded, fast fashion products, says the report.

South Africa’s clothing industry is currently in crisis, squeezed between rising wage costs and intensifying international competition.

“Under the guise of promoting ‘decent work’, clothing jobs are simply being exported to low-wage countries such as Lesotho and China by the South Africa’s labour-market institutions such as the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU),” say the authors.

The report further says the vision of the SACTWU is that only decent jobs with relatively high productivity and high wage should exist in South Africa, and labor-market and industrial policies should prevent any low-wage, low-productivity production.

“The most labor-intensive firms, producing basic clothes for the mass market, have survived in South Africa by relocating to lower-wage regions,” the Professor mentions.

She explains, “The very existence of the rump of labor-intensive manufacturing in South Africa is now threatened by a compliance drive launched in 2010 by the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry (NBC).”

“The NBC’s objective is to force all firms in the clothing industry to comply with the minimum wages agreed to in the Council by member employer associations and the SACTWU. This has serious implications for the prospects of labor-intensive growth in the industry and the country,” she says.

In the circumstances, a more differentiated approach to wage-setting is needed for the South African garment industry, the report concludes.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

Must ReadView All

Textiles | On 19th Jan 2017

Union Budget: Textile sector expects excise duty revisions

Excise duty on man-made fibres should be reduced to bring it on par...

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani at the inauguration of IIGF in New Delhi with textiles secretary Rashmi Verma and other dignitaries. Courtesy: PIB

Apparel/Garments | On 19th Jan 2017

Ministry to reimburse apparel exporters for state levies

The textile ministry has received a sum of Rs 500 crore from the...

Apparel/Garments | On 19th Jan 2017

Asahi Kasei to display sustainable fibre at trade shows

Asahi Kasei, specialty Japanese fibre producer, will be displaying...

Interviews View All

Angelina Francesca Cheang

'Consumers in the age-group 21 to 38 are driving the activewear trend'

Janak Dhamanwala & Sunil Dhamanwala

Moving towards sustainability is also a social change

Milind Khandwe
Hindoostan Innovation Centre

‘Modern technical textile is an indispensable tool for science and...

Eamonn Tighe
Nature Works LLC

Eamonn Tighe, Fibres and Nonwovens - Business Development Manager of...

Marten Alkhagen
Swerea IVF AB

Marten Alkhagen, Senior Scientist - Nonwoven and Technical Textiles of...

Paolo Ocleppo
Sandvik Hyperion

Paolo Ocleppo, Rotary Cutting Segment manager, Sandvik Hyperion discusses...

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

"We should not compare India and the West. There are things we do that...

Judy Frater
Somaiya Kala Vidya

Among the many honours showered on Frater, including Fulbright and Ford...

Robert Brunner

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies

January 2017

January 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.


Browse Our Archives


Subscribe today and get the latest News update in your mail box.
Advanced Search