Home News Clothing Industry labour productivity outstrips growth in earnings
Clothing Industry labour productivity outstrips growth in earnings PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 April 2012 17:39

South African clothing workers have become significantly more productive over the last few years. Yet each year, they earn comparatively less per garment they produce. Recent data compiled by Productivity SA, shows that between 2005 and 2010, labour productivity for the sector has increased by 73%, far outstripping the 54% growth in real earnings over the same period.

Productivity SA used base data originally from Stats SA.

The data confirms the sentiment of local clothing workers that they are working harder, faster and more efficiently but have not seen the equivalent increases in their earnings. 

While the period 2005 to 2010 saw the most dramatic rise in productivity in the sector, clothing workers’ productivity has in fact been increasing steadily without equivalent increases in real earnings since 1990. For example, between 1990 and 2005, productivity increased by 36% while clothing workers’ real earnings increased by only about 2%.

This information concretely refutes the right-wing fiction that local workers are apparently unproductive.

SACTWU has brought this information to the attention of clothing employers, when the trade union presented its overview on the state of the industry, at the start of the first round of clothing industry wage negotiations which took place last week. We presented this graph, as a graphic illustration of what we mean:


Issued by
Andre Kriel
General Secretary

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