Talks in bid to end strike
A MEETING with the the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been set for tomorrow in Durban in an attempt to resolve the national footwear sector strike, which is entering its fourth week.
The strike, which involves 8 500 workers, started on July 9 after a dispute with the Southern African Footwear and Leather Industries Associations, an employer organisation, and employee unions the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) and the National Union of Leather and Allied Workers (Nulaw) after wage negations deadlocked.
Workers’ demands include a 9.5% increase, as well as an adjustment to the three-day annual family responsibility leave to include cover for when spouses fell ill. Currently, workers can only take leave when their children are ill.
The employers initially offered a 6.25% increase but have since increased it to 7%.
Both offers were rejected by the employees.
Due to the extended length of the strike, the CCMA offered assistance to the National Bargaining Council of the Leather Industry of South Africa to resolve the dispute.
The initial date had been set for either Friday or Saturday but was moved to tomorrow in order to accommodate all the affected parties.
The unions have agreed to the meeting and said they were willing to engage and comprise with employers.
Both Andre Kriel, Sactwu’s general secretary, and Ashley Benjamin, Nulaw’s general secretary, said although they were asking for a 9.5% increase, they were willing to accept 8%.
“We are of the stance that compromises can be made. We are ready to engage with the employer,” Benjamin said.
However, he maintained that a 7% rise would not be accepted.
Kriel agreed that a settlement needed to be reached.