Last minute negotiations have led to a strike of 33,000 Western Cape clothing workers being called off.

The Southern Africa Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) and the Cape Clothing Association (CCA) agreed on a wage settlement that provides for a 6.47 per cent labour cost increase, and will inject approximately R46m rand extra cash into the Western Cape economy over the next 10 months.

The agreement contains a number of historic 'firsts', including agreement to set up a National Bargaining Council for the clothing industry, covering all magisterial districts in the Republic of South Africa, by March 31 next year;

Wage negotiations covering clothing workers in Natal and the Eastern Cape have also been settled. Together, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Natal settlements will mean a cash injection of approximately R64m into the national economy over the next 10 months.

However, the union will proceed with strike action of 6000 clothing workers in Johannesburg August 21. Wage negotiations covering these workers have not yielded an agreement.

The final offer from the Transvaal Clothing Manufacturers Association (TCMA) amounts to a wage freeze, an increase in weekly working hours and a reduction in worker benefits, said the union.

The union has conducted a strike ballot in its Gauteng Region, and 93 per cent of members have voted in favour of strike action.