HomeBusiness DigestTextile industry still reeling from cheap imports

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CLOSE to 5 000 textile industry workers lost their jobs between 2007 and 2009 as the effects of cheaper imported materials continue to emasculate local products.

Zimbabwe Textile Workers’ Union secretary general Silas Kuveya this week said they were now working to counter further job losses.
The textile industry currently employs slightly more than 6 000 people.
Kuveya said: “The union launched a campaign against buying sub-standard textile products. We have also approached the Industry and International Trade ministry who have promised that they would carry out investigations to see if the imports are getting into the country legally (with the necessary duty paid).”
Jobs in the textile industry are still not safe as the pressure of cheaper imports continues at a time when local producers are operating under 30% capacity.
Cheap textile materials are mainly coming from China and other Asian countries.
Demand for textile products may be high but the local consumer does not have much disposable income thus would settle for the cheaper but less durable and substandard materials.
Kuveya said workers in the textile industry still faced problems as there are employers who have declined to pay the US$150 agreed minimum wage.
Things have started to move, though slowly, in the textile industry but the anticipated recovery and the saving of jobs may take time due to electricity cuts.
David Whitehead Textiles Ltd (DWTL), at one time the largest industrial player retrenched 639 workers in February.
The textile firm is yet to raise US$2 million for the workers’ severance packages.
It was agreed under the retrenchment agreement that the firm would sell assets to raise the package.
Two properties were identified, one in Harare and another in Kadoma, but it is only the former which has found takers.
Kuveya confirmed that the David Whitehead workers were yet to get their packages.

Leonard Makombe

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