Textile firm must pay R17m fine

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

Taiwanese-owned Tai Yuen Textiles said yesterday it would appeal against a R17million fine imposed for underpaying nearly 400 workers.

The company's lawyer, Bruce Macgregor, said that Tai Yuen believed there were flaws in the July 15 ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

"We are busy filing a review to the labour courts," he said.

The CCMA found the company had violated National Textile Bargaining Council wage provisions, underpaying 393 workers a total of R11,5million between February 12 last year and April 27 this year.

Macgregor said: "We strongly oppose the belief that there's any money our client owes."

But Wayne van der Rheede, national organising secretary of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union welcomed the ruling.

"We discussed the issue with the company for a very long time. The problem is that non-compliant companies undercut compliant ones," he said.

"They don't pay legal requirements such as levies, provident fund and legal wage rates and this gives them an unfair competitive advantage," said van der Rheede.

He said the union did not think the company would succeed with its appeal.

The CCMA ruled that violations by Tai Yuen included failure to pay provident fund contributions and annual bonuses.

According to the union, the fine was one of the stiffest ever imposed on an employer.

In February, Rowmoor Industries was fined R4million.