Sactwu may down tools

Thousands of textile workers have threatened to embark on a strike if their demands are not met.

Thousands of textile workers have threatened to embark on a strike if their demands are not met.

CAPE TOWN - A Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliated labour union says it will decide in the coming days whether its 50,000 strong membership in the clothing manufacturing sector will down tools or not.

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) has given employer associations until Friday to settle a wage dispute or face industrial action.

This as strikes continue in the construction sector and motor-manufacturing industry.

Sactwu says the majority of its members have voted to go on strike.

But the union's Chris Gina says they are waiting to hear whether employers in the clothing sector will commit to a settlement agreement.

"Come 2 September, I can call it D-day. If there's no settlement we will be left with no option but to issue a 48-hours' notice to commence the strike."

The union is demanding a wage increase of seven percent for employees in metropolitan areas and 11 percent for those in non-metro areas.

Meanwhile, workers in the auto sector and the construction industry have already downed tools.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is demanding a 14 percent wage increase.

Its members downed tools last week at seven of the country's vehicle manufacturing companies, among them BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Ford.

At the same time, a strike by some 1,300 technical staff at South African Airways (SAA) is continuing.

ECONOMY

Meanwhile, analysts have warned the ongoing industrial actions will have a negative impact on the country's economy.

Currently, the Rand has hit a four year low. It has fell past the R10.50 cents to the US dollar level.

Economists say ongoing strikes are some of the factors contributing to the Rand's poor performance.