Newsletter 10 of 2020

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Newsletter No. 10                                                                                               27 March 2020

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Clothing industry reaches agreement to safeguard industry, workers

By Donna Slater

South Africa’s first Covid-19 lockdown national collective agreement for the clothing and textiles industry was expedited and ratified by the end of March 23.

The agreement was formulated by the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry in South Africa.

The agreement is a product of fast-tracked national centralised negotiations between the parties in the clothing industry bargaining council, and has been submitted to the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) for a requested expedited emergency gazettal and extension to nonparty companies in the clothing industry.

The primary focus of the agreement sets out several safeguards for workers within the industry. It also sets out to reinforce a belief that all South Africans, their organisations and institutions develop cooperation between themselves and government during this period of national crisis. It also hopes to spur affected parties to “dig deep” to develop support programmes to address issues arising from the threat of Covid-19.

Guarantees of full payments of salaries to 80 000 clothing workers for the lockdown period is also a primary concern highlighted in the agreement.

These salary guarantees will comprise payments from both worker Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) monies and employer funds, according to the agreement.

Further, the clothing industry bargaining council will be the institution relied on for the UIF distribution payments to workers through company payroll systems.

The establishment of a clothing industry Covid-19 Lockdown Rapid Response Task Team will also be developed to manage immediate practical implementation matters arising from the conclusion of the agreement.

The parties to the bargaining council, working together with the UIF and the DEL, are now focusing on the practical modalities of implementation of the agreement.

The signatories to the clothing industry agreement are the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union, the Apparel & Textile Association of South Africa and the South African Apparel Association.  Engineering News

K-Way designs down suits for all-female SA Everest team

By Tracy Hancock

South African outdoor technical brand K-Way has designed and manufactured bespoke climbing suits that will enable a four-women team to withstand the arduous weather conditions and terrain of Everest, in the Himalayas.

The South African women will attempt to summit the world’s highest mountain during March and April.

“I am excited about this opportunity to take the K-Way brand to the top of the world and showcase what South Africans can achieve,” says K-Way technical product developer Stephen Hector, who oversaw the manufacture of the down suits.

With more than 35 years’ experience in the industry, he has been spearheading the design of Cape Union Mart’s K-Way brand for more than nine years.

Hector says he is honoured to be part of the team to develop the down suits that will help protect these female adventurers on their expedition, adding that “every single person who was involved was invaluable”.

The suits, which were designed, developed and manufactured in four weeks, were built at the K-Way factory in Ottery, Cape Town, to highly specialised specifications, while being tailored exactly to the bodies of the mountaineers.

“Understanding how tough this expedition truly is played a massive role in the design of the suits. Comfort is paramount, so we put much effort into ensuring that the measurements of each climber’s suit were absolutely perfect,” says Hector, noting that, of the six fabrics used in the suits’ construction, five are imported and one is sourced locally.

The suits’ outer fabric is Pertex Endurance, which provides high abrasion resistance and significant weather protection, as it is waterproof to 1 000 mm, completely windproof and highly water resistant. The designers have used 850 fill-power goose down, with the average fill per suit just exceeding 1 kg. The total weight of each suit averages 2.7 kg.

Hector adds that care has been put into eliminating cold spots while constructing a labyrinth of 86 stabilised, hand-filled goose down chambers.

“The design had to ensure there are no cold spots and that each segment operates like a box – a carefully calculated box. If you put too much down into one segment, the area will attract dead air and if you put too little down, you will get a cold spot.”

From enhanced mobility and insulated pockets to innovative zip designs, he says nothing was left to chance.

“The last thing the climbers need is a failing zip at the wrong time, many thousands of metres above sea level.

“The gear is made to the highest quality and standard, as it must perform at an optimal level to enable the adventurers to push their bodies to the limit, while remaining protected from the elements.”

Hector says the down used in these suits “is the Rolls-Royce of down”.   Engineering News

Clear Fashion: The mobile app to choose clothes that are kind to people and the environment

What lies behind the clothes that we sometimes buy in a frenzy without really thinking about it? This is the question that the Clear Fashion app attempts to answer, deciphering brands and their production methods at a mere click on your smartphone. Here’s how.

A revolutionary App

Keen to discover what hides behind the clothing labels and names that we so often frequent? With Clear Fashion, you can now obtain an analysis of the commitments made by over 70 brands according to four themes: human, health, environment, and finally animals. How? Simply by taking a photo of the label of the garment that you want to decipher.

A first level of information will offer you a general overview of the brand’s commitments in terms of composition, practices and labels obtained, while a second will give you more information about the brand’s maturity concerning each criterion in each theme. A must for comparing pieces and choosing those that best correspond to your values!

A committee of renowned experts

But how does it work? Clear Fashion has constructed an independent evaluation method, created by means of consumer surveys, as well as numerous discussions with renowned experts on the themes assessed, whether sociologists, chemical engineers or textile supply chain professionals. Together, they have defined five major principles of analysis.

First of all, the “big picture” aims to assess the level of responsibility of brands and clothes for all the chosen criteria: humans, health, animals and the environment. Then, an independence principle offers a reminder that a brand holds no influence or decision-making authority over how the score is reached, based solely on the scale made public to users. In addition, with a view to continuous improvement, Clear Fashion regularly takes into account feedback and limits highlighted by users and reworks its methodology with the help of the committee of experts.

Moreover, when they cannot obtain any information about a given criterion through their research and contact with a brand, the app considers this to be a potential risk. This fourth principle is followed by the final one: goodwill. Clean Fashion only incorporates information concerning current policies, practices and collections rather than forecasts or future commitments. At any time, each brand can contact them to update its information and amend it as soon as possible. In short, the right to a second chance.  Promosyl

Did you know……..

The creation of man-made fibers has only been within the last 100 years.  Rayon, was the first man-made fiber created in 1910 and it was called ‘artificial silk’. Viscose is the most common form of Rayon.

Microfibre or Ultrasuede was invented over 20 years ago in Japan.  Microfibre is the thinnest of all man-made fibres, even finer than silk.  it is 100 times finer than a human hair

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