“The strike will affect about 164 footwear employers throughout South Africa and approximately 10,000 employees in the bargaining unit in major centres like Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg and George and Oudtshoorn,” said National Union of Leather and Allied Workers (Nulaw) general secretary Ashley Benjamin.
The union wanted a minimum pay rise of 7.75 percent across the board. It wanted employers to set up a fund to help re-train workers should their work be replaced by new technology and machinery.
It further wanted employers to fast-track setting up a reference pricing system for the footwear industry, under the auspices of the SA Revenue Service.
This would help customs officials at ports of entry deal with under-invoicing, and stop counterfeit and illegal imports from entering the country.
“We have seen a turnaround in the footwear industry and workers played a major role to sustain the industry and we therefore believe that our demands are very reasonable,” he said.