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SACTWU conference debates worker living wage
05
Mar '13
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) held its Annual National Bargaining Conference from 28th February to 3rd March 2013, in Cape Town.
 
The Conference was attended by 200 delegates and officials. Delegates were shop stewards representing 85 000 SACTWU members in the clothing, textile, leather, distribution and related sectors in all parts of South Africa.
 
Amongst the Conference delegates were 20 newly-elected shop stewards, ordinary workers who are now democratically elected at workplace level, as the union renews its leadership mandates through general shop steward elections at workplace, branch, regional and national level.
 
Over the last month and a half, SACTWU has collected approximately 16 000 living wage demands from its members in just over 1600 workplaces nationally. These demands were reconciled provincially, and were collected in metro area as well as non-metro area based workplaces. The Bargaining Conference has consolidated these living wage demands into more coherent national sectoral demands, to be backed up by an aggressive national programme of action.
 
The Conference noted that SACTWU will this year negotiate in 3 national bargaining councils (clothing, textiles and leather), 2 provincial bargaining councils (canvass goods in Gauteng and laundry in KwaZulu-Natal), 6 company group level negotiations (such as in Service Products/Sheltered Employment) and in just over 80 plant level wage bargains. The outcomes of our negotiations will affect about 100 000 clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and related workers.
 
The main purpose of the Conference was to consolidate nationally the union’s workplace-collected living wage demands for the 2013 round of substantive negotiations. The Conference successfully completed this task and re-affirmed our determination:
 
-To step up the fight for a living wage
-To smash the reactionary attacks on the union’s bargaining structures, such as bargaining councils and the extension of our industry wide collective agreements
-To strengthen centralised bargaining
-To stamp out the scourge of non-compliance in our industry
-To strengthen our fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic
-To campaign against the ills of rape and other abuses of women and children
-To step up our campaign against illegal imports
-To strengthen the Buy Local and Proudly South African campaigns
-To concretise our solidarity support for other COSATU affiliates’ living wage, recruitment and organising campaigns
-To crush bogus co-operatives, set up to deliberately circumvent the provisions of our labour laws
-To strengthen capacity building amongst our newly elected and re-elected shop stewards, to help with better service delivery for our members.

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