Sactwu response to clothing employers revised wage offer Print
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 17:31
 
PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE
 
 
The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) confirms that it has this morning received a written revised wage offer from clothing employers, following the commencement of a national wage strike by about 55 000 clothing workers yesterday, 15 September 2009. The purpose of this press release is clarify the content of the employers' revised offer and the trade union's response thereto.
 
The details of the employers' revised offer (with explanatory notes by the union) are as follows:
 
An increase to total labour cost of 8% for metro and non-metro workers. (Their previous offer was 5% and the union was demanding a a 7.9% wage increase for metro workers and the rand equivalent for non-metro workers).
 
The employers' revised wage proposal is conditional on the union agreeing to the following new terms of employment:
 
1. The aggregation of overtime provision in the clothing industry main agreement shall apply without any exclusions. In other words, all forms of absence shall be taken into account for the purpose of making up the employee's full weekly hours before overtime rates are earned. (This means that workers' must agree that their overtime earnings must be docked if they are absent for any reason, even if that reason is a reason recognised in law such as when a worker has a legitimate sick certificate from a medical practitioner, or uses legal Family Responsibility Leave to attend the funeral of a close relative etc. Currently, the exclusions enshrined in the main agreement and which the employers now want removed are as follows: time not worked as a result of legal industrial action; time not worked as a result of a public holiday declared in terms of the Public Holiday's Act; time not worked as a result of the employer having declared short time; authorised shop stewards' time off for trade union activities; time not worked as a result of any authorised absenteeism).
 
This proposal is not new and is part of the employers' immediate previous proposal. This proposal was previously rejected by the trade union and identified as a major stumbling block to a settlement.
 
2. A provision to be included in the agreement which provides for all forms of remuneration such as annual leave, annual bonus and the employer contributions to the workers' Provident Fund, to be calculated on actual attendance.
 
This is not a new proposal and was part of the employers' immediate previous proposal. This proposal was also previously rejected by the trade union and identified as a major stumbling block to a settlement.
 
3. The employers' support the trade union's proposal for the establishment of a Productivity Institute under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Industry as well as the trade union's proposals to improve the compliance drive of the bargaining council i.e, making more factories comply with the terms and conditions set out in the national main agreement for the industry.
 
This is not new and has been agreed very early in the negotiations, about 6 months' ago already.
 
4. A process with clear timelines for the purpose of 'modernising' the industry main agreement in such areas as keeping exemptions to an absolute minimum, speeding up operational decisions at plant level, making provisions for shift work, flexible annual leave, limiting consultations at plant level to reasonable time frames and introducing dead lock breaking mechanisms where such consultations are stalled beyond such time frames.
 
This is not a new proposal and has been agreed to a few months' ago, on the following basis: that the trade union will also add its list of issues that it wants included in these post-negotiations discussions about the modernisation of the agreement, that 'modernising the main agreement' is not to be interpreted to mean down-ward variation in terms and conditions of employment, that the list of issues mentioned by the employers is not automatically agreed to but would form the subject of discussions going forward.
 
5. The employers have advised that their new revised offer '...is open for consideration and acceptance by the trade union and its members until Sunday 20 September 2009 at 06h00".
 
Standing back: the only difference in the employers revised offer is that it has increased the total labour cost component from 5% to 8%.
 
The trade union's Head Office has spent the first half of today briefing its national- and regional leadership about the details of the employers' revised offer. We will now convene shop stewards' councils througout the country to provide further feedback to our leadership in our branches and seek mandates directly from over 50 000 clothing workers employed in about a 1 000 workplaces spread throughout the country. We anticipate that this mandating process will be concluded by late morning on Friday 18 September 2009. There-after, we expect to provide the employers with feedback, prior to their deadline of 20 September 2009.
 

 
Issued by
Andre Kriel
SACTWU
General Secretary
 
If further information is required, kindly contact any of the the following SACTWU spokespersons:
 
Andre Kriel, SACTWU General Secretary on 021 4474570
Wayne van der Rheede, SACTWU Deputy General Secretary, on 021 4474570 or cell number 082 8007143
Chris Gina, SACTWU National Organising Secretary, on 031 3011 351 or cell number  0829409456