The South African Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, has gazetted a new main agreement for the domestic clothing manufacturing industry. The new agreement was published in the government gazette yesterday. The new main agreement sets the terms and conditions, including minimum wage levels, for the whole of the clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa.
The Minister has used her ministerial powers enshrined in the Labour Relations Act to extend the agreement to every single clothing company in the whole of South Africa. It became effective on Monday 14 April 2014.
This means that every single clothing worker in the whole of South Africa now enjoys the protection of legislated minimum terms and conditions of employment, especially up-to-date compulsorily guaranteed minimum wage levels as negotiated under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry of South Africa.
Importantly, the new Main Agreement fixes the technical defects which has caused the Pietermaritzburg High Court, last year, to set aside the 2010 clothing industry wage agreement.
SACTWU welcomes this development as ground-breaking victory. It is a solid indication that our current government cares about protecting the bargaining council-negotiated conditions of employment rights of clothing workers.
This is a significant act of compassion for tens of thousands of workers in vulnerable industries, especially in light of the destructive onslaught against our industry wage agreements by organisations such as the Free Market Foundation.