SA industry and globalisation

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Transcript SA industry and globalisation

SA industry & globalisation:
survival in the clothing industry
Etienne Vlok
Annual Labour Law Conference
1 July 2011
What’s the problem?
• For a combination of reasons, the clothing
industry is unable to compete on price
– Very low labour costs in competing countries with
• Little labour laws or no enforcement
• Weak or no trade unions
– Also
• Our currency strength & others’ currency pegging make
imports very cheap & our exports expensive
• Significant incentives & support measures in competing
Why not just cut wages?
• Our constitution & govt’s decent work policy
set out a different path
• Clothing wages lowest in manufacturing with
a new machinist in rural areas earning R416/w
• Not a sustainable strategy
– Only temporary advantage, if any at all, by cutting
wages as others (without strong laws & unions)
will quickly go lower
• SA vs Lesotho vs Madagascar vs Bangladesh.
Why not just cut wages?
• These types of wage cuts only
– Where (close to) full employment exists
– In conjunction with govt support measures to deal
with impact on households
– Employers give unequivocal ‘no retrenchment’
– In non-democratic countries
• Actual result
– Losses in productivity
– Industrial unrest.
So what then?
• Industry strategy, agreed by stakeholders, say
move away from competing on price only (&
to higher value added goods)
– Improving supply strengths to capitalise on
location advantage
• Quick Response, in-season trading, stock replenishment
– Also, improved design, quality & innovation
– Use our decent work as competitive edge.
Worth saving?
The CTFL industry can
• Easily create jobs:
2.3 times manufacturing
• Result in increased
gender equity (+80%
• Develop rural areas
• Has major multiplier
Industry strategy
• A twin strategy:
• use of trade measures
• local procurement
• addressing customs fraud
–Supply-side: competitiveness & skills
• The past two years have seen a strong emphasis
by govt on implementation of programmes
– New flagship incentive, PI, introduced
• Links to job creation, competitiveness improvement
Competitiveness assistance incentive launched
Cheaper working capital facilities available
Customs fraud campaign
Increased duty on most important finished products
Duty relief for manufacturers on certain inputs
New government procurement regulations.
Decent work
• Important link between industry strategy &
govt strategy of decent work
• Incentives & support measures linked to
compliance with labour laws
• Means govt programmes facilitate growth of
CTFL industry built on decent work
– Not using low wages & sweatshop conditions as
competitive advantage.
SACTWU’s response
• SACTWU has used
strategic unionism,
packaged in union’s
‘Jobs Campaign’
• Programmes incl
– Trade measures
– Sector strategy
– Factory interventions
– Skills development
– Local procurement.
Union projects
• Trade policy & measures
Monitor trade flows
Input on trade rules, incl tariff investigation rules & rebate rules
Attendance at WTO meetings and global union lobbying of WTO
Analyse impact of negotiations, incl WTO & bilaterals
Apply for trade measures to deal with imports
• Customs Fraud
– Create an awareness in SARS of the problem
– Identify new measures to tackle fraud
– Propose & get agreement on new sections in new customs bills to
fight fraud
– Tip-offs & import data analysis to SARS
– Research & communicate non-compliance with Label of origin.
Union projects
• Local procurement
Assistance to retailers, designers & others to find local capacity
Tender monitoring & alerts to manufacturers
Input on govt procurement regulations
Promote industry with a focus on fashion innovation, incl fashion
shows & awards to recognise exceptional performance
• Sector strategy
Input on IPAP & sector strategy
Suggested changes to incentive rules
Market support measures to companies & stewards
Introduce with partners performance improvement projects
• Skills development
– Use and improve the programmes of the SETA
– Submissions on national skills policy
– Skills development training of shop stewards & members.
• Job losses reduced
– 2010 was 28% lower than 2009 and 17% lower
than 2008
– trend continuing in 2011
• StatsSA employment stats largely stable
– over last 18 months in clothing
– over last 15 months in textiles
• Anecdotal evidence of job creation in several
If not wages, then what?
• Government
– Customs fraud:
• Campaign can still be more effective, upscaled,
measured with arrests & prosecutions
– Resourcing of incentives:
• Initial concerns about uptake but now demand
outstripping supply
• Cannot reduce level.
If not wages, then what?
• Business and Labour
– Fabric duties: innovative solution needed that
assists both textile and clothing sectors
• Removal of 22% duty on fabric imports is equivalent of
a 26% wage reduction
• Result would be an 8% reduction in costs
– Increased & better training of workers & managers
• History & continued underinvestment in skills
• Work with NSF & SETA to ensure major upskilling.
SA industry & globalisation:
Survival in the clothing industry
Etienne Vlok
Annual Labour Law Conference
1 July 2011