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Factory workers’ dreams of 20% raise crushed

Business

… Settle for mere 5% hike amidst soaring prices

Ntsoaki Motaung

Factory workers, dreaming of a 20 percent wage boost to match the soaring prices of everyday goods, have found themselves settling for a measly five percent increase.

Tšepang Makakole, the Deputy Secretary General for the National Clothing, Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), explained the workers’ position in an interview with Newsday yesterday.

“We agreed to the five percent after the employers indicated they could not afford 20 percent. We did not want to strike, but it does not mean we are happy about the five percent,” Makakole said.

He emphasised that the five percent increment falls short of meeting workers’ needs.

“The wages will not cover all the basic needs because the cost of living has increased due to rising commodity prices. That is why we wanted the 20 percent increase, which we thought would be sufficient to cover essential needs.”

Makakole explained that employers claimed they could not afford a 20 percent increase due to the poor state of the economy.

“We have been receiving low wages for years. Even when the economy or business thrives, our salaries remain stagnant,” he said.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Tšeliso Mokhosi, has issued a legal notice detailing the labour code wages on minimum wages for various sectors. According to the notice, employees in the clothing, textile, and leather manufacturing sectors with less than 12 months of continuous service with the same employer are expected to earn a basic salary of M2582.00 per month, M597.00 per week, and M119.00 per day for general workers.

For machine operators, the rates are M2776.00 monthly, M641.00 weekly, and M128.00 daily.

For employees with more than 12 months of continuous service with the same employer, the rates increase to M2882.00 monthly, M667.00 weekly, and M134.00 daily for trained machine operators.

Additionally, the notice stipulates that employees who have completed more than one year of continuous service with the same employer in the textile, clothing, and leather manufacturing sector are entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave.

 “An employee who has completed more than one year of continuous service with the same employer other than in the textile, clothing, and leather manufacturing sector and private security sector shall be entitled to receive six weeks paid maternity leave before confinement and six weeks paid maternity leave after confinement,” the notice reads.

Employees in the private security sector with more than one year of continuous service with the same employer are also entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave.

However, the benefits for maternity leave are limited to two confinements per employee during their employment with the same employer.

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