Clothing wage cut could fit other industries: Sacci

10 October 2011 - 17:06 By Sapa
Scissors. File picture
Scissors. File picture
Image: Phillip Nothnagel

The lowering of the minimum wage in the clothing and textile industry can serve as a model to other industries, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Monday.

"The agreement to lower the minimum wage by 30 percent within the clothing and textile industry is a model that can be implemented to increase South Africa's competitiveness and employment creation," Sacci president Chose Choeu said in a statement.

Last week, textile industry employers and the Apparel Manufacturers of SA, under the umbrella of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers' Union, signed a deal to offer 30 percent lower wages to new employees.

Choeu invited other industries to "seriously consider the brave example of the clothing and textile industry when tackling the significant problem of unemployment in South Africa". He said the agreement had not only saved jobs, but already led to the creation of new jobs.

"The almost immediate announcement by Cape Town-based manufacturer Peter Blond & Associates that they will increase their workforce by 25 percent thanks to the agreement indicates that the South African manufacturing industry is eager to expand its workforce given the right conditions."

Choeu said the agreement "clearly shows a relatively quick and red-tape-free method of creating jobs".

The agreement could lead to the creation of 5000 new jobs within the next three years, Business Day reported last week. In the past decade, the industry had lost 50,000 jobs, as the sector struggled to compete with cheap Chinese imports, according to the report.