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Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape

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Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape


Unions and employers move to protect clothing workers

Published: 26 March 2020 | Written by National Bargaining Council


SA lockdown

Relating to Clothing industry Workers/members

24 March 2020

Media release: immediate


The National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry In South Africa has late yesterday lafternoon ratified South Africa's first COVID-19 Lockdown National Collective Agreement.

This ground-breaking collective agreement was concluded after fast-tracked national centralised negotiations between the parties to the clothing industry bargaining council.

The main summary features of the agreement includes the following:

-a firm belief that all South Africans and the organisations and institutions which they belong to must not just solely rely on what government can do during this period of national crises, but must dig deep to develop anti-COVID-19 support programmes which they themselves, and from their own resources, can now contribute...we cannot run to government for everything.

-80 000 clothing workers will be guaranteed full pay for a 6-week lockdown period;

-payment to workers will be made up of worker Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) monies and employer funds;

-the clothing industry bargaining council will be the institution for the UIF distribution payments to workers in our industry, via company payroll systems;

-establishes a "Clothing Industry COVID-19 Lockdown Rapid Response Task Team" to manage immediate practical implementation matters arising from the conclusion of the agreement;

The agreement has been submitted to the Department of Labour for a requested expedited emergency gazzetal and extension to non-party companies in the clothing industry.

The parties to the bargaining council, working together with the UIF and the Department of Employment and Labour, are now focusing on the practical modalities of implementation of the agreement.

The clothing industry bargaining council extends our deep appreciation to the Minister of Employment & Labour, the UIF Commissioner and the officials of the Department of Employment & Labour, for their unwavering support, wise guidance and advice during this unprecedented national negotiations process.

We are conscious that it might not be a perfect agreement, but are determined to give it our best shot.

We specifically want to thank workers and employers of our brave industry for their willingness to mandate their leadership to take the neccessary patriotic risks to conclude what we hope is a pioneering centralised bargaining agreement that will be a small contribution to our country's national effort to decisively defeat the spread of COVID-19.

The signatories to the clothing industry agreement are:

The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU)

The Apparel & Textile Association of South Africa (ATASA), and

The South African Apparel Association (SAAA)

We say: "United Together, let's build our industry, our country and our continent."

Issued by

Marthie Raphael


If further information and comment are required, please contact:

SACTWU: André Kriel, General Secretary, on 0214474570

ATASA: Rajan Naicker, on cell number 0827288110

SAAA: Johann Baard, on cell number 0834444069"