The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] condemns the shooting of five Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union [SACTWU] members in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday afternoon. The workers were picketing outside a factory as part of SACTWU’s strike in the footwear sector which began on Monday.
Workers were peacefully participating in the picket line when teargas was shot and was soon followed by rubber bullets directed at the picketing workers. The national union condemns the unnecessary highhandedness by police and calls on both the police and factory owners to respect workers’ rights to picket. We view this violence directed at workers as a dark ploy to deter them from raising their genuine and reasonable demands.
SACTWU is demanding a salary increase of 9.5% while the employer is only prepared to offer a meagre 6.25%. As NEHAWU, we believe that the demand by SACTWU is reasonable considering the high cost of food, transport and other necessities. The 1% VAT increase and the perpetually rising price of petrol should be reason enough to prompt the employer to concede to the 9.5% salary demand by workers.
The national union calls on our government to pay special attention on the sector as 90% of our footwear comes from China and the country only produces a meagre 10%. With an unemployment rate of 26.7% in the first quarter of 2018 this necessitates that a radical investment in the sector be undertaken to increase job opportunities.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za