Some 3,500 garment workers in South Africa have staged a protest against a textile number of companies, accusing them of violating wage laws.

The march, which took place in Northern Natal on Tuesday (20 March), was in response to textile companies paying employees wages below the legal rate and minimum living level. 

Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) said it has made concessions to assist employers to avoid factory closures and to help them pay legal wages.

SACTWU general secretary Andre Kriel said: "Our laws are still being broken and workers are treated unfairly. We will not accept this insult against our country's laws."

The protestors have handed over a memorandum to employers, the Clothing Industry Bargaining Council and to the Department of Labour.

SACTWU said that if there is no solution within the next month, it will "not hesitate to call a national strike involving close to 100,000 clothing and textile workers".

In October, the SACTWU agreed to lower the wages for new workers as part of efforts to revitalise the country's clothing manufacturing sector.