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The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)
The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)

SACTWU is founded at 1989 and it is a duly registered trade union, registered in terms of the relevant provisions of the Labour Relations Act in South Africa. The organization has 99,697 members, making it the dominant union in the fashion manufacturing industry, locally, and the biggest in our industry globally. Moreover, it has an 85% union density rate in our sector in South Africa.

SACTWU organizes workers in the clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and allied industries. It is the 10th largest affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and is an affiliate of Industriall (the global manufacturing union federation). It is also the largest manufacturing trade union in Cape Town, Botshabelo, Mogwase, QwaQwa, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Isithebe and many other towns.

The organization has 18 offices across the country in Salt River, Atlantis, Paarl, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Tongaat, Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Pinetown, Isithebe, Port Shepstone, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Botshabelo, and QwaQwa.

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Key services

  • Collective Bargaining – providing wage coverage for over 100,000 workers.
  • Job security – negotiating alternatives to closures, retrenchments and liquidations, and lobbying for jobs with government.
  • Member benefits – providing R6million in funeral and retirement benefits to members and dependents, in 3800 pay-outs a year.
  • Promoting higher education – The organization is also sponsoring ±700 students at universities, institutes of technology and colleges, and contributing about R5 million in bursaries every year.
  • Member complaints – The organization is also assisting 99,000 members through a network of 1,682 workplace shop stewards at 1,493 organized workplaces.
  • Health education – running a unique HIV/AIDS industry service reaching 50 000 workers annually with a focused awareness message, train 1000 shop stewards every year and deliver a free voluntary counselling and testing programed for members that have seen more than 178 000 workers counselled to date, since inception of this program in 2002.
  • Health services – the organization is co-managing 6 clinics in the Cape in residential and industrial areas, covering 100 000 members and dependents, plus a clinic in Johannesburg and Durban each.
  • Building basic education – providing literacy and numeracy programmes at 200 primary schools nation-wide through the Edupeg program, reaching over 260 000 learners over the last three years alone
  • Developing shop floor leadership –training more than 1500 shop stewards annually in labour law, industry agreements, representation skills and workplace problem solving.
  • Job advocacy – through initiating the Proudly South African campaign during the 1998 Job Summit negotiation, and launching the Cape Town Fashion Festival.
  • Promoting vocational and workplace training – through co-managing the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing (FPMA) and Wholesale & Retail (W&R) Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA’s).
  • Disseminating information and communication technology skills – through partnerships with institutes of technology that have seen worker leaders graduate in our Computer School.
  • Helping high school students – through a unique Matric Winter School program that has assisted 4 470 students to date. (From 2000 onwards, when it was first initiated).
  • Creating employment – through 100% ownership of two factories in the industry that employs a total of 205 workers, through investments in companies that employs in excess of 30 000 workers inside and outside the industry, through contributing to the labour Job Creation Trust, as well as through Policy measures that protect tens of thousands of jobs of the union’s membership.

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