Clothing employers have advised the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) that they will end the 2011/12 clothing industry party-to-party wage agreement.
In a letter headed ‘Termination of the 2011/12 Substantive Agreement’ addressed to SACTWU’s general secretary, Andre Kriel, from the Apparel Manufacturers’ Association (AMSA), stated:
“On behalf of AMSA affiliate Regional Associations you are hereby given notice that on expiry of the Substantive Agreement on August 31, 2012, the Substantive Agreement will come to an end.”
Contained in the agreement is a provision for 30% lower entry wage rates for new workers, but following this latest announcement this provision also comes to an end.
According to SACTWU, it was ‘puzzled’ as to why AMSA did this, especially as the association has publicly stated that wages in the clothing industry are too high. The union has disagreed on this point stating that clothing workers are the lowest paid in the whole domestic manufacturing industry in Southern Africa.
Nevertheless, the SACTWU general secretary and its two national organising secretaries formally met with the AMSA senior national leadership on June 20, 2012, and AMSA was clarified about the consequences of its notice of termination of the agreement.
It was confirmed in that meeting that AMSA clearly understood that the lower ‘new entry wage rate’ would come to an end, because of the termination.
Following this, the union has accepted that the agreement will come to an end as per the terms of ASMA’s notice letter. It will also mean that new workers who have been employed on the 30% lower wage rate will have to receive an automatic 30% wage increase with effect from September 1, this year.
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