Home Press Releases Archived 2015 Load-shedding forces large numbers of workers into unpaid short-time
Load-shedding forces large numbers of workers into unpaid short-time PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 June 2015 11:58


Many workers and factories in the clothing, textile, footwear and leather (CTFL) manufacturing sectors are struggling under the load-shedding crisis which has afflicted South Africa. For workers, the crisis often leads to short-time (when workers are sent home during load-shedding and periods thereafter and do not earn any wages during this time). These are some of the findings of a survey conducted by the SA Labour Research Institute (SALRI), the research wing of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), in preparation for the union’s Fashion Imbizo, taking place in Cape Town on 9 June 2015 under the theme: “Energising the CTFL sector: the energy crisis and emerging opportunities”.

The survey covered 112 companies nationally in the CTFL and allied industries engaged in the manufacture of, amongst others, fibres or yarn, knitted or woven fabric, wearing apparel, leather, footwear, general leather goods and handbags. These companies employ almost 17,000 workers. The intention of the survey was to identify the effect load-shedding has on the industry and workers and what companies are doing to mitigate this.

As a result of load-shedding, 17% of workers in companies surveyed have been put on short-time, meaning about 1 in 6 workers have sat at home at some stage with no pay due to load-shedding. In addition, 14% of workers are facing the possibility of short-time in the near future. There is also concern of future retrenchments occurring as a result of problems with the supply of electricity.

Whereas it is commonly understood that load-shedding occurs mostly in two-hour blocks, the effects of load-shedding on manufacturing industries extend beyond this. The true impact of load-shedding on businesses is higher and our survey revealed that in the CTFL and allied industries, it can take on average a further two additional hours after electricity comes back on line to regain maximum productivity. In other words, the actual impact of load-shedding costs the industry double the hours of standard load-shedding whilst trying to regain productivity.

The survey revealed that more than 80% of manufacturers surveyed rely solely on the energy provided by Eskom as a source of power – meaning that these manufactures go on complete shut-down during load-shedding. The industry has been slow at implementing alternative sources of power such as generators and renewable sources such as solar power citing the high costs as the main hindrance to the implementation.

SACTWU has organised the Fashion Imbizo to discuss solutions to the current situation. We have invited Eskom to discuss alternatives to the current load-shedding with labour and business and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) to share with manufacturers how they can reduce their dependence on the grid and save energy.

The Imbizo will also include a session on future trends in retailing and technology and how South African CTFL manufacturers can respond to these.

Issued by
Andre Kriel
General Secretary

If further information is required, kind contact SACTWU’s Mr Etienne Vlok on cell number 0824480506 or office number 021 4474570