By  on September 9, 2010

JOHANNESBURG — As South African president Jacob Zuma visited China last month to court investors to his country, Chinese companies were closing 85 apparel factories they own in Newcastle in the province KwaZulu-Natal because of a wage dispute. The factories employ about 8,000 workers who produce an estimated three million garments a month.

Zuma is under fire because his three-day trade mission coincided with a strike by an estimated 1.3 million South African civil servants — nurses, health and education workers and police — who are demanding higher pay. Workers are seeking an 8.6 percent boost.

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