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The South African Typographical Union was established in 1898 as a National Union and has served the Printing Newspaper and Packaging Industry for 112 years with distinction. All these years the South African Typographical Union has concentrated on organizing the technical employees in these sectors. However, due to technological changes in the industry and the reduction of technical workers it had to amend its Constitution to take in many other Allied Sectors.

 The Conditions of Employment which apply to members in the Printing, Newspaper and Packaging Industry are in many cases better than most other unions have been able to negotiate for their members. The Conditions of Employment are in most cases better than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Since the inception of this Act, employers have been attempting to change our members’ conditions of employment to those of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which has the effect of reducing our member’s conditions of employment to those of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which are less favorable than our member’s present conditions. Remember the Basic Conditions of Employment Act sets out the minimum conditions an employer can employ a person on. SATU has been vigorously opposing these changes as the conditions of employment which our members enjoy have been negotiated for over the course of many years.

The South African Typographical Union has amended its Constitution to extend its scope to include the following occupations: Stationary Outlets, Book Shops, Publishing Houses, Advertising Agencies, Screen and Sign Display Sectors, Photocopy Shops, Printing Suppliers.

These are areas which we have not concentrated on yet and even if we organize them as union only members, once they have seen the benefits of belonging to a union, we can work on getting them to join our funds.


NB” For a Union to be effective it must have “organizational rights” as prescribed in the Labour Relations Act, 1995, Act No. 66.

What is Organizational Rights?
A Union must represent 50% + 1 of the employees in the workplace to enjoy the rights that the Labour Relations Act prescribes. The Union can claim certain rights if it represents 30% of the employees in the workplace, but it is not as effective as if it had majority status.

It is up to you to assist the union in organizing the employees in the workplace to achieve these targets to provide you with the cover that the Act provides. “UNITY IS STRENGTH”.


• You will have someone to look after your interests at the workplace;
• You can get assistance through negotiations on changes in conditions of employment such as:

 i) Hours of work
ii) Shift allowances
iii) Overtime rates
iv) Week-end rates

• Assistance in wage/salary negotiations annually with your employer;
• Assistance with Redundancy/Retrenchments;
• Job Grading and Evaluation;
• Representation at disciplinary hearings by people trained to handle such hearings/proceedings;
• Free legal assistance to CCMA via Statutory Council for the Printing, Newspaper and Packaging Industry or Labour Court if necessary.



 • The Union is representative in the Printing, Newspaper and Packaging Industry and has enrolled a number of Journalists and Administrative employees already and has recognition in most newspaper and printing firms. If your workplace, as defined in the Labour Relations Act, has no Union representing the employees then the Union needs 30% of the employees to join to be “sufficiently representative” and 50% + 1 to have majority representation and have the full rights granted in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

 • SATU recognized that wage negotiations can be done at one forum, but that conditions of employment of different categories of employees needed to be understood and other benefits for Editorial (Journalists) and Administrative employees must be separated as the operational requirements are different; as will all the additional sectors which have been added to the union’s scope.


• Once “majority Representation” has been achieved in a “WORKPLACE” then wage negations can take place, conditions of employment can be reviewed, Legal Assistance can be given on any work related problem, etc. It is important for employees in all the sectors to work towards achieving these numbers so that the Union can be of assistance to them.

 SATU is non-political and has no political affiliations or aspirations;
• SATU is affiliated to FEDUSA, a non-political affiliated Labour Federation;
• SATU membership comprises ± 80% of the previously disadvantaged people;
 SATU complies fully with the Equity Act as an organization;
 SATU has substantial Benefit Funds, which are optional for Editorial and Administrative workers to join, but are compulsory for all Technical workers who join the Union. Why the difference? Editorial and Administrative workers normally have, as a condition of employment, a company pension/provident fund and medical aid that is compulsory for them to join.