Johannesburg - Labour Minister Nelisiwe Oliphant has assured the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) that section 42 of the employment equity amendment bill was not intended to negatively affect coloured or Indian workers, the union said on Sunday.
"We welcome this assurance and call on the department of labour to ensure that it finds expression in the final version of the bill, prior to it being tabled in parliament," said general secretary Andre Kriel.
Kriel said Oliphant also dismissed recent reports that about a million coloureds in the Western Cape and 300 000 Indians in KwaZulu-Natal were at risk of losing their jobs if the amendments went through.
The bill was drafted by the department of labour when the government's new spokesperson Jimmy Manyi was its director general.
Manyi has been under fire since a video clip was broadcast on YouTube last week of him saying that there was an "oversupply" of coloureds in the Western Cape.
On Wednesday, further remarks attributed to Manyi about Indians were published by the Democratic Alliance.
"Indians, we should be having only three percent [of positions on management]. They are sitting at 5.9. I call it the power of bargaining.
"Indians have bargained their way to the top," Manyi said in an address delivered to the Durban Chamber of Commerce last year.
It has been questioned whether his attitude and comments may have impacted on the changes to the act.
Kriel said delegated at union's national bargaining conference held at the weekend in Durban demanded a "living wage" .
"Conference delegates emphasised that they demand a living wage and firmly rejected any attempts to [downplay] various terms and conditions of employment of workers in the industry," he said.