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South African Cotton Textile Workers Get 8.5% Wage Increase

Around 5,000 members of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) will get an hourly wage boost of 8.5% this year.

The increase is part of a two-year settlement deal signed last August by the SACTWU and the South African Cotton and Textile Processing Employers’ Association (SACTPEA) after union members went on a three-week strike demanding better pay.

The new hourly rates, effective for one year, will kick in on July 1 and range from 27.28 South African rands ($2.21) for a grade-one worker to 31.30 South African rands ($2.54) for a grade-five machine operator at 71 companies.

“This will mean a significant cash injection into the South African economy of about 7.8 million South African rands ($633,268) in additional wages over the next 12 months,” a statement issued Monday by SACTWU General Secretary Andre Kriel noted.

This is the second such wage increase SACTWU members have received as part of the agreement. An 8.5% hike was also issued last August.

In addition, SACTWU on Friday signed off on a 7.5% weekly pay increase for 2,000 employees in 83 factories in the general goods and handbag leather sector, while last month the union called for an increase in the monthly wages of clothing retail workers as well as the introduction of a compulsory retirement fund.