50000 workers down tools

THE clothing workers' strike, which was suspended for a week, is back in full swing since yesterday.

THE clothing workers' strike, which was suspended for a week, is back in full swing since yesterday.

More than 50000 clothing workers downed tools again yesterday after wage negotiations between the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and Appelo Manufactures of Southern Africa deadlocked.

Sactwu general secretary André Kriel said the strike had been suspended a week ago after the intervention of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

"Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act allows the CCMA to intervene if it feels the resolution of the dispute would be in the public interest," Kriel said.

He said, however, that after the CCMA-facilitated conciliation in Cape Town on Saturday and Sunday, there was still no settlement.

"The major stumbling block remains that the employer's wage increase offer is linked to workers losing part of their annual bonus and annual leave payment."

Sactwu is demanding a 7,9 percent wage increase for textile workers in metro areas and 11,5 percent in non-metro areas. But the employer, Appelo, is only offering 8percent across the board.

The offer says if a textile worker is absent and has medical proof for it the employer will still consider the worker's absence as unauthorised. The worker will have money deducted from his-her salary.

Sactwu said its members in places such as Newcastle, Ladysmith, Botshabelo and QwaQwa were still earning R399 a week.

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