34 of 2019

           Newsletter No. 34                                                     6 September 2019


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The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) is alarmed at Treasury’s newly issued economic growth document proposals.

In the view of the SACTWU National Office Bearers, this document’s labour market and industrial policy proposals represent the most brutal attack on worker rights, since the advent of democracy.

Specifically, its call for some businesses to be automatically exempted from bargaining council substantive collective agreements is a direct attack to dismantle centralised bargaining, for which workers in this country have fought bitter battles. If these Treasury proposals become reality, it will simply mean the complete collapse of the collective bargaining architecture in South Africa. This in turn will unleash unprecedented chaos in thousands of workplaces, in both the public and private sector, the result of which will be devastating to our economy.

Treasury’s proposals regarding this matter is no  different to what the Free Market Foundation has demanded a few years ago, a demand which labour has back then decisively defeated in the boardroom, on the streets and in the Courts. We are disappointed that a government department of a democratic state, controlled by a political party which claims to support the interests of the poor and workers, can even contemplate rolling back our hard-won gains by resuscitating the already-defeated demands of the Free Market Foundation and other such reactionaries.

Furthermore, Treasury’s veiled suggestion that some businesses must be automatically exempted from the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a very serious slap in the face of social dialogue. Business, labour, community and government (including Treasury) have extensively engaged on and concluded the NMW at NEDLAC.

It is a badly cooked meal, and we refuse to let our members eat it.

The National Office Bearers of SACTWU have called a Special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for early next week, where we shall seek a proper final mandate on how to proceed regarding this matter.

We have registered our deep concerns about this matter with our federation, COSATU. We call on COSATU to be decisive in its rejection of this Treasury document, both in content and process.


If further comment is required, kindly contact SACTWU Deputy General Secretary, Chris Gina, on phone number 031 3011351.

Woolworths cuts final dividend by a quarter as CEO moves to Australia

Woolworths has cut its final dividend to shareholders by a quarter after a write-down against troubled Australian chain David Jones dragged the high-end retailer to another annual loss.

Woolworths recently cut the valuation of David Jones by another A$437.4m (R4.5bn), meaning the department-store chain is now worth less than half of what the company paid for it in 2014.

“The impairment reflects the economic headwinds and the accelerating structural changes affecting the Australian retail sector as well as the performance of the business, which has fallen short of expectations,” Woolworths said.

Turnover and concession sales at David Jones declined by 0.8% in the year to end-June, with operating profit falling to A$37m, Woolworths said.

Because of the impairment against David Jones, Woolworths reported a loss after tax of R1.1bn for the 53 weeks to end-June. That compares to a net loss of R3.5bn the prior year when impairments were higher.

Woolworths, which bases dividends solely on the performance of its SA business, said it would pay a final gross dividend of 98.5c a share for the year, a 24.5% drop. That brings the total dividend for the year to 190.5c, a 20.3% decline.

Woolworths said group CEO Ian Moir, who declared in 2014 that the David Jones takeover would create a “leading southern hemisphere retailer”, had been asked by the board to spend “significantly more time in Australia”.

He would oversee the David Jones turnaround in the capacity of acting CEO of that business. “Accordingly, Ian will now be primarily based in Australia … His group responsibilities will continue.”

Woolworths said its SA business improved in the second half of the year. And while consumer spending would remain constrained, the company’s domestic food business was likely “to continue to trade ahead of the market” and the fashion, beauty, and home unit would “continue its turnaround”.

“In Australia, we believe the retail market will continue to be tough with heavy discounting and promotional activity.” Business Live

Zimbabwe plugs loopholes in clothing manufacturers’ rebate

Zimbabwe has plugged loopholes in the utilisation of the clothing manufacturers’ rebate (CMR) after some players were found to have abused the facility over the past six years, resulting in the state losing millions of dollars in tax revenue. Malpractices include the disposal of fabrics intended for value addition in the domestic market and transfer pricing.

Finance and economic development minister Mthuli Ncube said although the facility had assisted manufacturers to reduce production costs, thereby making local apparel competitive in the export market, some beneficiaries were undermining tax revenue and distorting both national and regional value chains and linkages through malpractices, according to newspaper reports in the country..

Some clothing manufacturers were using transfer pricing, under-invoicing and incorrect declarations to evade local taxes while taking advantage of preferential trade agreements to realise huge profits in regional markets.

The rebate facility, which is due to expire this year after benefiting more than 50 companies, has been renewed over the years after taking into account developments in the textiles and clothing industry. Materials eligible for the rebate are from man-made yarn and include denim, cotton sewing thread, woven fabrics of polyester staple fibres, chenille fabrics, tulles and other net fabrics.

Some players have been reportedly importing material that is locally available and later producing garments for the international market, a development that is threatening to destroy downstream players such as cotton farmers, ginners, spinners and weavers.

Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association (ZTMA) president Admire Masenda, however, said the association is not aware of any company abusing CMR, but authorities should come down hard on anyone breaching regulations. F2F

Did you know……..

1932 Fashion: What did people wear?

A blue and white plaid rayon dress with sashed belt and bow collar, with flowers, ribbons and quills in the hair is the style of the summer. Fashionable hats range from the pillbox, toque, trimmed turban and Basque beret (worn on the side like Marlene Dietrich). Chanel’s cotton evening dress was a big hit in 1932.

For the first time, ties made of wool, not silk, are the fab choice for the stylish businessman

To Advertise………………….. Click here to see fact sheet with advertising rates. 

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