The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has declared a wage dispute in the wool and mohair textiles subsector after employers failed to table an acceptable wage offer.
(READ MORE: S.African footwear union to strike from Monday)
Employers are offering 6.5 per cent while union members are demanding a 9.5 per cent wage increase.
SACTWU’s strike follows a nationwide consultation with members that established a consensus.
“The strike ballot outcome shows that 70 per cent of our members support a strike to pursue their wage demands,” read a statement issued SACTWU.
Michael Bagraim of Bagraim Attorneys told CNBC Africa that June was South Africa’s traditional strike season adding that these strikes are normal and they are all for salaries.
“They normally have these strikes during this time of the year and the strikes doesn’t last for five months but two or three days,” he said.
With regards to negotiations underway between platinum firms and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Bagraim said government needed to be focused on finding a resolution to the industrial action crippling the economy.
“What has happened to us over the past five months is that government dropped us and they cannot pretend not to be seeing the crisis,” he noted.
“The new minister needs to get together with the department of labour and make a ruling on either wage determination or call the parties and threaten either employers or unions.”
(READ MORE: Platinum strikes could drive S.Africa into a recession)
Bagraim did not have kind words for the government’s mediation that is threatening to abandon negotiations if parties do not settle.
“It’s a worrying view that they would step out if they failed to resolve the platinum mines impasse. They have taken a risk by saying that if the parties involved don’t settle, they will step out. This is reckless as the strike is threatening the entire economy,” he said.