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Newcastle clothing units working on minimum-wage plan
Sep '10
Around 85 clothing and textile manufacturing units in Newcastle which remained closed on account of their ongoing row with the Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry have resumed working. They are now busy in framing plans to see that they are able to satisfy the minimum wage requirements.

David Yen, President, Newcastle Clothing & Textile Industrial Association, recently said that the manufacturing units resumed working last week, as South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and the sector's bargaining council assured them that in following 30 days, none of the factories will be compelled to close down, neither they will give any call for industrial action during the period.

The Chinese and Taiwanese factory owners closed down their units for a single day, to sympathise with the closure of a couple of companies in the town, a week earlier. A sheriff representing the bargaining council shut down the two factories for allegedly not fulfilling the minimum wage requirement of R324 per week as stipulated by the bargaining council.

The manufacturers are contacting all the suppliers, clients and other associates so that they could frame a proposal, which they intend to pass on to the bargaining council within 30 days, Yen said.

But then, the manufacturers in the town have made it clear that this is only how they can bring all the parties on one dais to debate the un-erupted boiling issues.

Renalto Palmi, a well-known figure in the textile sector said that, as far as, within his knowledge, a majority of the garment manufacturers in the town are paying a wage, which is slightly above or below the minimum wage.

According to him, a majority of the firms in the industry across the country do not comply with the bargaining council agreement, and that the situations prevailing in Newcastle may eventually bring about some alterations in the national wage structures.

Michael Lawrence, Executive Director of the National Clothing Retail Federation stated that, the bargaining council needs to adopt a realistic approach as the bargaining council agreement is generations old and as such, no more harmonizes with the industry.

A recent statement by Sactwu stated that, closure of the factories amounted to illegal lock-out.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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