SACTWU preliminary report on COSATU protest Print
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 16:45


 

PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE

Report by the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) on support by clothing, textile and footwear workers for today's regional COSATU protest action in KwaZulu-Natal against the electricity crisis: 88% of industry workers protest. This is a preliminary report which will be updated later today.

Today COSATU embarked upon the first day of its campaign of rolling mass action against South Africa 's continuing electricity crisis which has, and continues to, compromise the livelihoods of South African workers. The strike was strongly supported by workers in the clothing and textile industry in KwaZulu-Natal who participated through a stayaway as well by taking to the streets.

In figures available at 11am today, 88% of the approximately 40,000 workers in the formal KwaZulu-Natal clothing, textile and footwear industry supported the protest action, meaning 35,200 workers participated in the stayaway.

This total is based on a survey conducted this morning by SACTWU, with information being supplied by company employer representatives and/or shop stewards from Kwazulu-Natal factories.

The survey, which covered 152 factories, found that 24,600 of 27,900 workers were not at work. Companies such as Playtex, Durban Clothing, Estee Clothing, Southpoint, Da Vinci, Solar Sport, Crossley Carpets and Dano Textiles reported 100% or near full participation of workers.

Workers will now be participating in the marches in Durban and Newcastle .

The effect of the electricity crisis upon workers in the clothing, textile and footwear industry has been significant. These workers are some of the lowest paid workers in formal employment, and their budgets are already stretched thin by rising fuel and food prices and the need to support large numbers of unemployed dependents. The loss of income from the manifestations of the electricity crisis - loadshedding and the associated loss of production - has hit them hard. Now, with Eskom's proposed ‘solution' to the energy crisis, an increase in the price of electricity, workers and their dependents will be hit even harder.

In the textile industry in particular, workers have been badly compromised by the loadshedding and will be further compromised by the electricity price increase. In the textile industry, the loss of production hours from loadshedding extends well beyond the scheduled load-shedding times. This is so because the sensitive machinery used in the manufacture of textiles requires an often lengthy period to shut down and restart. Now, with the proposed price increases, the industry will see production costs rise, and workers in that industry could be faced with the repercussions.

Today's action will be followed in by action in Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape on 16 July, action in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, North West and Limpopo on 23 July, and finally by a national protest and nationwide marches on Wednesday 6 August.

In the Western Cape , workers were only expected to leave their workplaces after the morning teatime or participate in extended lunch time demonstrations at their workplaces and no reliable information was yet available at the time of this release.

 

Issued by

Andre Kriel

Deputy General Secretary

Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU)

If more information is required, please contact Etienne Vlok  on (021) 4474570.

 

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