New stability for SA clothing industry - union

Cape Town - South Africa's clothing, textile, footwear and leather (CTFL) manufacturing industry is entering a new period of greater stability and hopefully higher levels of growth, according to the Cosatu-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu).

Employment in the industry rose to the highest the past 30 months, according to the latest quarterly report by Statistics SA for the quarter ending September 2015. This is the second consecutive quarter that employment in the industry has grown, following a 3% increase recorded in the previous quarter.

Over the 12-month period to September 2015 employment in the CTFL manufacturing industry rose by 1.8%. This was driven by growth in the clothing sector (676 new jobs), textile sector (1 197 new jobs) and leather sector (268 new jobs).

Sactwu welcomed the jobs growth in the industry, with statistics showing that by September 2015 employment in the CTFL manufacturing sector stood at a little over 90 100 workers.

"Although the recent increases in employment remain small, they stand in contrast to the enormous levels of job losses which decimated the industry for over two decades," said Sactwu general secretary Andre Kriel.

"They also compare favourably to the declining fortunes of the manufacturing sector as a whole, in which employment decreased by 0.3% over the same recent 12-month period."

Kriel attributes much of the positive employment growth in the industry to continued strong support from the national government since 2009, coupled with Sactwu's “Save Jobs” campaign.

READ: Clothing retail workers must earn much more - union

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