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Union calls on public to support buy local campaign PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2006 13:26


Press Release


Over the past three years, more than 62 000 clothing, textile and footwear jobs have been lost as a result mainly of imports from China .

Today the largest union in fashion manufacturing called on its 110 000 members to support the call for a national strike on Thursday 18 May 2006 .

“We call on the public to show solidarity with some of the lowest paid workers in manufacturing who will demonstrate against job losses on Thursday,” said Mr Ebrahim Patel, General Secretary of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU). The union proposed that consumers examine the labels on garments and shoes before buying same to check the country of origin and bring to the attention of retailers their concern at the huge quantities of imports.


“Fashion and design are glamorous but the reality of unemployment and low wages is the very opposite. Workers eke out a living on less than R100 a day in many parts of the country and yet jobs continue to be lost through the increasing tendency of retailers to import,” said Mr Patel.

He drew attention to the surge of clothing imports which increased by 480% since January 2003. South Africa 's trade deficit with China has grown to unsustainable levels over this period.


“COSATU tabled a request to retailers to commit to buying 75% of their goods from local manufacturers but the large retailers have all refused to make this commitment. Clothing retailer profits are at historic highs and employment in clothing manufacturing is at a historic low. Unfortunately, the sourcing practices of the retailers are at the heart of the job losses of workers in manufacturing,” he said.

“We expect many thousands of workers to withdraw their labour as a symbolic action to draw attention to their plight. Workers will take part in marches and demonstrations in all the major cities and will deliver memoranda to large retail houses,” Mr Patel said.

The union expects large industrial areas to empty when workers clock out on Thursday in support of the strike.

The union has held factory level demonstrations in Cape Town, Joburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, QwaQwa, Kimberley, Isithebe, Worcester, Atlantis, Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg and Ladysmith during last week and member support for a symbolic action is strong.

All COSATU affiliates are expected to come out in support of clothing, textile and footwear job losses as part of the COSATU Jobs and Poverty Campaign.


Issued by the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU). For further information, please call Ms Aldene Appolis at 021-4474570.