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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU backs Buy Local campaign

5 December 2003

Buy local - Buy Proudly South African this festive season Historic victory for SACTWU

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is giving its full support to the Proudly South African (PSA) campaign, to persuade consumers to buy locally produced good s and services this festive season. COSATU played a key role in launching this campaign at the Presidential Jobs Summit in 1998. It aims to promote the purchase of quality South African products and services and thus preserve and create employment for South African workers. The sudden rise in the value of the rand has given new urgency to this campaign.

It has raised the price of SA exports and cut the price of SA imports. This has led to a flood of cheap imports into the country, and made it hard er for SA firms to export. This has already cost thousands of jobs in manufacturing industry. The result is increased poverty and hardships for retrenched workers. More than one thousand jobs are being lost a month in the clothing, textile and leather industry alone. COSATU sees it as a top priority to expand production of South African goods and thus preserve and create jobs.

That is why we are backing the PSA campaign focussed on the weeks leading up to Christmas to make South Af ricans more aware of the benefits of buying of high quality, competitively priced South African goods and services, especially as gifts. As trade unions we will emphasise that anything carrying the PSA logo must be produced by firms which comply with labour laws and health, safety and environmental regulations and treat their workers fairly and equitably. Faced with the exceptional crisis in their sector.

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) were forced to issue a Section 77 notice to Nedlac, to enable them to take protest action in defence of their members' jobs. COSATU congratulates SACTWU on having reached an agreement through Nedlac with some of the country's major retailers , and another with asset managers, which should give a huge boost to the PSA campaign. Pick 'n Pay; Shoprite Checkers; Woolworths; Foschini; Pepkor and Edcon have all signed a groundbreaking declaration which commits them to buy South African produced apparel products wherever possible and to invite South African manufacturers to quote on producing such good where practical.

The declaration commits the signatories to use their efforts, particularly their buying d ecisions, to promote higher levels of procurement from South African manufacturers, in an effort to create employment or save jobs in South Africa.

The parties will try to ensure the involvement of South African manufacturers in order to consider ways of strengthening and enhancing South African manufacturing. They further agree to procure apparel products from South African manufacturers who comp ly with South African employment laws and applicable minimum employment standards. They agree to work towards increasing the levels of apparel products procured from South African manufacturers and that are produced in the country, an d to assist manufacturers to improve their performance and develop the national manufacturing industry.

They further agree to work towards ensuring that all apparel products carry a country of origin label and to make resources available for marketing and in-store promotion of South African produced apparel products. COSATU also welcomes the other agreement signed today by finance sector representatives - Old Mutual Asset Management; Metropolitan Asset Management; F uturegrowth Asset Management; Independent Black Fund Managers Association; Oasis; Trilinear; Rocklands; Real Africa; Cerebral; Merit.

They agreed to encourage the clothing retail sector, particularly in the application of their buying decisions, to promote higher levels of local procurement in an endeavour to create employment or save jobs in South Africa. Specific commitments inclu ded agreements on:

  • Support for the buy local campaign in the industry.
  • Trustees of Retirement Funds to be encouraged to shift resources to companies that are committed to long term sustainable development in the country.
  • An undertaking to impress on the clothing retailers to support the buy local declaration. Although this agreement covers only one sector of manufacturing industry, it is one of the hardest hit sectors and many hundreds of jobs sh ould be saved if this agreement is fully implemented. It is also setting a precedent for every other sector and giving the whole PSA campaign a massive shot in the arm. Meanwhile COSATU members will now be mobilising workers to support the general PSA campaign.

These are just some of the initiatives being taken by COSATU regional structures:

  • Free State/Northern Cape In Bloemfontein, Bethlehem, Welkom, Virginia, Qwaqwa, Kimberley, Upington and De Aar, Sasolburg 6-7/13.14 December: Pamphle ting at taxi ranks. 8-12/16/19 December: Postering, loud hailing and lunchtime meetings at shopping centres, bus stops and taxi ranks. 20-21 December: Picketing at selected shops. North West 17-22 December: Picketing and leafleting at Mega City, Mafiken g; Klerksdorp City Mall; Vryburg Mall; Frankfort Shopping Centre. Gauteng 17-22 December: Picketing and leafleting at Mark Park, Vereeniging; Vaal Gate, Valderbijlpark; Shopping Centre, Carletonville.
  • Mpumalanga Pickets, demonstrations and taxi rank bli tzes at: 14 December: All taxi ranks
  • 17 December: Shoprite Complex, Witbank
  • 18 December: Emnothweni Plaza, Nelspruit
  • 19 December: Shoprite Complex, Ermelo
  • 20 December: Kwaga Plaza, Kwamhlanga Western Cape Cape Town Fashion Festival, to promote the best of SA produ ced clothing.
  • 3-7 December: Fashion Expo, International Convention Centre
  • 6 December, from 9.30: City Catwalk, Darling, Adderley, Wale and Long Streets. 7 pm: Spring Queen Fashion Show, Good Hope Centre (Phone SACTWU on 021 447 4570 for ticket s).
  • 7 December: Fashion Brunch, V&A Waterfront, followed at 12.30 by the Fashion at the V&A Show in amphitheatre. Open to public.
  • 7-12 December: Fashion-in-film Festival, The Labia Theatre (Phone SACTWU on 021 447 4570 for tickets)

Let us use the power ful PSA logo as a strong tool to move forward together in the struggle to fight unemployment and poverty!

Patrick Craven Acting COSATU Spokesperson