The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has withdrawn a wage dispute declared against clothing employers.
The back ground to the matter is as follows:
SACTWU had declared a dispute against clothing employers, for their refusal to wage bargain. The dispute was declared on 16 April 2014, during the second day of the 1st plenary round of this year’s substantive negotiations for the clothing industry.
Subsequent to that, the dispute was conciliated by two senior Commissioners of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA) on 21st May 2014, which conciliation had failed. A Certificate of Outcome of an Unresolved Dispute was issued by the Commissioners, on 26 May 2014.
However, in the interim and on 22 May 2014, the parties to the dispute had voluntarily agreed to re-commence bilateral engagements on the substantive matters. Arising from this engagement, the clothing employer parties to the bargaining council had then tabled a total labour cost increase proposal of 5.75%.
The union has reflected on the matter, "We have come to the conclusion that, given the fact that the employers had now actually tabled a wage increase proposal, we can no longer reasonably continue to contend that they are still refusing to negotiate with us, as alleged in our original dispute regarding this matter.
"We accordingly advise that SACTWU has withdrawn its declaration of dispute. We have advised the employers accordingly, earlier today. We are encouraged that they have revised their position, following our declaration of dispute by tabling an actual first offer of a 5.75% total labour cost increase.
"We are currently still in report backs to our members regarding the developments. We will provide the employers with a detailed response on their 5.75% increase offer when the parties meet during the next round of annual wage negotiations, scheduled to take place next week on 18 and 19 June 2014."
About 100 000 clothing workers are covered by this bargain, nationally.