Red Tab Foundation: South Africa
On Monday night, Leadership Summit attendees will get to hear from RTF Case Manager from South Africa, Lavinia Crawford-Browne about the impact of the Red Tab Foundation on employees at the Epping plant and why the foundation’s safety net is so critical in South Africa. Lavinia was appointed case manager at the Epping plant in February 2017. As personal assistant to Archbishop Desmond Tutu for 22 years, Lavinia has extensive experience in relating to people from all walks of life. She retired from his office in 2009, and became marketing/liaison officer at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. Lavinia continues in this position as a consultant three days a week.
LS&Co. and South Africa
LS&Co. is one of Epping’s principal employers, offering fixed and seasonal work to more than 475 members of the community.
South Africa has a multicultural, multilingual population of more than 57 million and has more than 11 official languages, including IsiZulu, Afrikaans, and English.
The country is recognized for having an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; modern infrastructure; and Africa’s largest stock exchange.
In 1994 South Africa achieved a relatively peaceful transition from oppression to democracy.
South Africa has the greatest economic disparity between the rich and the poor in the world. Unemployment in South Africa is nearly 30 percent, meaning that many LS&Co. employees are the sole breadwinner for their family.
Epping is one of only two owned-and-operated factories at LS&Co, and it employs more than 475 people, 69 percent of whom are female. It has been operating since 1994.
Epping makes 55 percent of products sold in South Africa and 40 percent of what is sold in other African countries.
The clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa is unionized and is regulated by the Bargaining Council. LS&Co. pays its employees between 15 and 60 percent above the recommended pay rate in the Western Cape clothing industry.
In addition to RTF services, workers at Epping have access to a mother’s room, an on-site medical clinic and a social worker provided by LS&Co.
Red Tab Foundation
Through our programs designed to address the specific needs of LS&Co. workers at our Epping manufacturing facility, RTF plays a critical role in supporting families in financial crisis and in making employees feel seen and valued.
RTF helps an average of 50 Epping employees per year — about 10 percent of the plant’s workforce.
Workers are offered financial workshops to address debt and given school books grants to alleviate the financial hardship caused by education expenses.
In 2018, 21 percent of the Epping workforce went through a Red Tab Foundation financial wellness training. In 2019, we plan to take 45 percent of the workforce through the same training.
For every grant that is given, four other employees visit Lavinia, seeking counsel and a listening ear. RTF plays a critical role in making employees feel seen and valued.
Epping employees are some of RTF’s most loyal and engaged supporters, donating via payroll deductions and hosting grassroots fundraisers, like selling boerewors (sausage) rolls at lunchtime.
Want to see RTF in action?
One attendee from the Leadership Summit will have the opportunity to join the Red Tab Foundation Immersion Trip to South Africa. Opt in by answering “Yes” when you make your pledge to support RTF in the Leadership Summit app.
Did you know?
Nelson Mandela endorsed the opening of the Epping plant as an important step in establishing apparel industry in South Africa after apartheid.