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Key Dates in the History of Sactwu



We remember:

7 January 1919: The first mass trade union of black workers formed in Cape Town – the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU)

9 January 1973: The Durban strikes start

18 January 1973: East London Consolidated Fine Spinners and Weavers (Frame) 1000 workers strike for wage increase.

26-30 January 1973: 10 000 Frame workers strike in Natal

27 January 1990: Sactwu launches its leather workers membership drive with a blitz in Wellington the town where Western Tanning Co. is situated.

7 January 1992: Sactwu and employers present a plan to government to save jobs in our industry and create more jobs.

31 January 1998: Nictex blanket workers strike for more wages.

21-26 January 2002: Sactwu holds its second annual National Organising and Negotiating School for staff in Simonstown in the Western Cape Region. The school has set the pace to reshape our industry and created a strong machine capable of achieving the goals adopted at our 2001 National Congress

26 January 2003: First-ever National Textile Bargaining Council is registered, a significant step forward in the union’s long campaign for centralised bargaining in the textile industry.



We remember:

1-17 February 1991: Over 1000 SANS workers go on strike for higher wages.

3 February 1998: Table Bay Spinners strike in support of industry- wide-cotton-worker demands.

4 February 1973: Smith and Nephew Textile strike of 600 workers for more wages.

9-15 February1991: First national organiser training course is held at Oakford Priory in Natal.

12 February 1958: 2000 workers sacked during a strike at Amato Textiles in Transvaal.

15 February 1988: Cape Cotton workers strike for June 16 as a public holiday, and higher wages.

17 February 1986: BKB woolworkers in Port Elizabeth strike.

21 February 1985: Workers at SA Nylon Spinners go on strike

22 February 1983: Bata shoe workers in Kwazulu, members of NUTW, strike

5-6 February 2000: Sactwu hosted its first ever, negotiating school for staff, in Brackenfell, Cape Town. The focus of the negotiating school was to prepare the union for the challenges in collective bargaining and within our industry

1-28 February 2002: Sactwu Recruitment Offensive starts.

9 February 2002: Sactwu launches its Regional Servicing Conferences throughout the country. The aim of the conferences was to find new ways and means to improve the services the union provides to its members.

27 Feb/1March 2002: 1000 David Whitehead workers in Durban, strike in defence and protection of worker rights. The strike was the largest and strongest protected wage related legal strike in the textile industry since 1993 and ended victoriously in favour of the workers.

28 February – 3 March 2002: Sactwu holds its first-ever National Bargaining and Servicing Conference in East London. The theme of the Conference was "Buy local, save jobs, crush poverty, build Sactwu".

3 February 2003: Sactwu annual Recruitment Offensive starts.

10-14 February 2003: The ITGWLF holds first-ever organisational building workshop for the Ramatex Group of companies in Namibia. Thobeka Platyi and Frans Xola of Sactwu’s Border North Branch represent Sactwu at the workshop.

28 February 2003 : Sactwu Annual Bargaining Conference starts in East London. The theme of the Conference was “Buy local, save jobs, crush poverty, build Sactwu”.




We remember:

12 March 1956: Workers at Hextex in Worcester go on strike for 4 days in support of a demand for higher wages.

5 March 1980: 300 African and coloured women at Berkshire clothing factory go on strike over production bonuses

8-9 March 1991: Cosatu Campaigns Conference which adopted Worker Charter constitutional demands for a post-apartheid South Africa

14-15 March 1992: Fifty worker leaders convene in East London at the first ever national shop stewards council.

21 March 1960: Massacre at Sharpeville, as police kill 69 peaceful protesters against pass laws.

24 March 1993: Over 2000 Da Gama workers strike for 47 days in support of a demand for higher wages.This is one of the longest strikes in Sactwu.

11-12 March 2000: Sactwu’s annual Bargaining Conference takes place in East London. The theme of the conference was "Promoting Bargaining in the Fashion Industry"

March 2000: Tens of thousands of Cosatu members participate in peaceful demonstrations, in all industrial areas, throughout the country. The action was a direct reaction to the thousands of jobs lost over the past few years and in protest to government’s macro-economic policy.

5-6 March 2002: Sactwu and the Department of Labour raid clothing companies in Newcastle, Kwazulu Natal. The raid revealed that many companies do not comply with the labour laws of our country, in particular health and safety and security standards and conditions of employment.

12 March 2002: Sactwu launches its Creative Writing Project in the Western Cape region. The project is the first of its kind for a trade union in South Africa and has been designed to unlock the creativity of young learners, to promote literacy and motivate the learners to become the writers of the future. the project forms part of our Social and Welfare Programme.

3 March 2003: Sactwu’s non-metro recruitment campaign starts. The aim of the campaign is to sign up 8000 new members.




We remember:

1 April 1992: Cosatu meets with the Minister of Finance to discuss the setting up of a National Economic Forum in order to negotiate over jobs and economic matters.

7 April 1992: A 16-day strike at Pep Textiles in Transkei ends, with workers winning a 17% wage increase.

25 April 1998:2000 Rex Trueform clothing workers conduct a strike ballot, to force employers to increase the very low wages in the industry.

April 1991: Open School.

15 April 2000:Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Beauty Thys a key Sactwu shop steward from Riverside Tanning in the Eastern Cape.

28 April 2000:Lillian Malan, first ever Sactwu female regional chairperson, dies peacefully, two days before her 40th birthday. She was a shop steward at Charmfit in the Western Cape, for sixteen years.

April 2002: House of Monatic, a clothing company in the Western Cape region becomes the 100th member of Proudly South Africa. House of Monatic is one of South Africa's oldest and largest manufacturers of world-class mens- wear and is fully organised by Sactwu.

15 April 2003:Launch of the Chris Hani Institute in Johannesburg. The aim of the institute is to promote intellectual engagement, research and scholarship that is directed at finding answers to the problems that the country faces, and to do so within a perspective that promotes broad socialists goals, from a working class perspective. Sactwu’s General Secretary elected to the board of the Institute.

17 April 2003:Sactwu’s National Office-bearers meet with the Cosatu National Office-bearers.

April 2003: Sactwu’s first ever closed ballot in the textile industry commences.