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Govt shuts down clothing units over wage row
03
Sep '10
Yellow Street in Newcastle's Madadeni Township, was seen shrilly vacant recently as clothing factories in the street, employing around 3,000 workers, remained closed to sympathise with the closure of a couple of companies in the town, a day earlier. Both the companies were owned by Asians.

At a time when, President Jacob Zuma was on a visit to China pleading the investors there to invest in SA's manufacturing industry, manufacturing companies owned by immigrant Asians were being shutdown.

These factories mainly belong to group of "cut, make and trim" garment producers, knitwear and textile companies under the ownership of Chinese South Africans in Newcastle and, churn out three million garments, each year.

The National Clothing Manufacturing Bargaining Council, in its efforts to earn the workers the wages they deserve, intends to shut at least 47 factories across SA, of which nine are located in Newcastle. The issue here is that the Council wants that the employer's should pay their workers a minimum wage of R324 per week.

By and large, around 8,000 jobs are at stake in the area where the prevalent unemployment rate is already high at 60 percent. This main reason is that, a number of factories are finding it hard to survive and some of them are even considering to exit.

Circumstances are no different at Newcastle, with clothing industry in SA getting weaker and crushed by the low-cost imports from Far East and rising cost of production in the country.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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