CAPE TOWN, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of workers in the textile industry downed tools on Monday, worsening labor tension in South Africa that is already reeling under a fresh spate of strikes.
The strike commenced at 10 a.m. with thousands of footwear workers joining the strike demanding wage increase, according to the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU).
The union commenced a national strike ballot in the footwear manufacturing sector last Monday. This secret ballot was completed on Friday and 86 percent of union members voted in favor of the strike action, the union said.
"The issue in dispute is the employers' final wage offer of 6.25 percent, which has been rejected by our members. We demand a 9.5-percent package increase," SACTWU General Secretary Andre Kriel said.
The strike has shut down most footwear factories, according to Kriel.
"We are determined to decisively execute this firm mandate to strike, in pursuit of our demand for a living wage in the footwear sector," he said.
South Africa has been hit by one strike after another recently. A massive strike by workers at electricity utility Eskom has been going on for weeks with no sign of subsiding.
The strike shut down seven power stations, prompting Eskom to implement load shedding that left many parts of the country in darkness.
The Department of Labor has warned that frequent strikes are harming the economy and the labor force.