The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has called for a final meeting with clothing employers, which will be held in Cape Town on August 5, 2014, in a last-gasp attempt to secure a resolution of wage dispute, the COSATU-affiliated union said in a press release.
SACTWU said that it had submitted its 2014 wage demands very early this year, on March 20, and subsequently, the first round of wage negotiations were held on April 15-16. Since then, there have been three further normal rounds of negotiations of two days each, plus three separate conciliation meetings and numerous bilateral discussions.
However, these discussions have failed. The employers’ current final offer is a total labour cost increase of seven percent and the union is demanding a nine percent increase.
Wage increases are due on September 1, 2014.
SACTWU said it intends to conduct a national strike ballot for around 80,000 clothing workers if the discussions fail at the final meeting.
Terming its final demand as reasonable and affordable, the workers’ union said a strike, however, would remain a last resort. But, if the union is forced to trigger a strike balloting processes, there will regrettably be no turning back.
“We are of the view that we have granted employers enough time and a fair opportunity to find a constructive settlement with us. It appears increasingly that industrial action might have to be invoked, in order to break the deadlock,” said SACTWU general secretary Andre Kriel.