Workers in the clothing industry across South Africa will receive a 7.5 per cent wage increase, effective September 1, 2018. Workers in the non-metro areas will receive an additional 0.5 per cent in the form of greater employer contribution to the provident fund. This will benefit just over 60,000 clothing workers, employed in 745 factories nation-wide. The agreement was reached under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry of South Africa. Employers were represented by the Apparel and Textile Association of South Africa (ATASA), Eastern Province Clothing Manufacturers Association (EPCMA), South African Apparel Association (SAAA), South African Clothing Manufacturers Association (SACMA) and the Transvaal Clothing Manufacturers Association (TCMA). While the employees were represented by the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
The final settlement involves a two-year agreement. The second year wage increase, beginning September 1, 2019, will be the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as at November 2018, plus an additional 1 per cent. In the event of CPI plus 1 per cent resulting in the total labour cost increase being less than the rand value increase for 2018, the adjustment shall be the rand value equivalent of the 2018 total labour cost increase. “This simply means that next year, our members will not receive a lower wage increase than what they will receive this year. Should the CPI plus 1 per cent for the second year exceed this, negotiations will be re-opened,” SACTWU said in a press release. There was also an agreement that the scope of coverage of family responsibility leave will be broadened, and SACTWU members will receive an extra day’s paid annual leave. The wage increase component alone, combined for all the workers, will mean a total cash amount injection of R250m ($17.5 million) into the domestic economy, over the next year