Around 85 Taiwanese and Chinese clothing and knitwear factories are embroiled in a dispute over the alleged non-compliance with the minimum wage of ZAR324 (US$45) a week.

The companies, which are members of the Newcastle Chinese Chamber of Commerce, closed earlier this week in response to the compliance drive by the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry.

But they have reopened their factories “after feedback has been received from both the Union and the Bargaining Council that Provincial and possible National intervention is going to take place in the clothing and knitwear sector.”

Newcastle Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry says: “Meetings will now be held on a national basis to address the problems in the sector and to try to come up with an amicable solution that will be agreed by all parties involved in this sector.”

The South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) said in a statement earlier this week that the closures amount to an illegal lockout and were an “unacceptable situation.”