Union launches protest against in­ter­na­tional cloth­ing brands

Saturday Star - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK

THE SOUTH­ERN African Cloth­ing and Tex­tile Work­ers’ Union (Sactwu) is set to em­bark on a na­tion­wide protest against in­ter­na­tional cloth­ing brands H&M and Zara today.

The Cosatu-af­fil­i­ated union said it was protest­ing against Zara and H&M be­cause the brands car­ried no South African-made prod­ucts.

Sactwu general sec­re­tary An­dre Kriel said yes­ter­day that the union wanted to high­light the dam­age that was be­ing caused to the do­mes­tic cloth­ing in­dus­try.

“Over the last two years our cloth­ing, tex­tile, footwear and leather in­dus­try has ex­pe­ri­enced a re­newed wave of job losses and fac­tory clo­sures,” said Kriel.

“One of the key rea­sons is the en­try and growth of large in­ter­na­tional re­tail­ers like Zara, H&M and Cot­ton On.”

The protests will take place na­tion­wide. In Gaut­eng, protests will take place at Clear­wa­ter Mall, Cresta and Sand­ton Mall, and China Mall in Pre­to­ria.

“Th­ese re­tail­ers con­duct busi­ness in our coun­try, but they carry no South African-made prod­ucts and they snip mar­ket share from many South African re­tail­ers which stock South African-made goods,” said Kriel.

“Th­ese for­eign re­tail­ers cause fewer or­ders in South African fac­to­ries which con­trib­ute to lo­cal re­trench­ments and fac­tory clo­sures. South Africa can­not af- ford fur­ther un­em­ploy­ment.”

Sactwu is ex­pect­ing about a thou­sand of their mem­bers to take part in the protests today.

Kriel said they were hop­ing to en­gage with th­ese re­tail­ers and as­sist them in sourc­ing qual­ity lo­cal sup­pli­ers. “We are hop­ing that th­ese re­tail­ers will not only ex­tract money from our econ­omy but also make a con­tri­bu­tion.

“Cot­ton On is also an in­ter­na­tional re­tailer, but they have shown an in­ter­est in en­gag­ing with us.”

A Zara store in cen­tral Madrid, Spain.

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