More textile job losses loom

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By Kefiloe Kajane

Taiwanese Nien Hsing Textiles group is set to close yet another factory C & Y Garments come December 2021, which could result in 1 200 Basotho losing jobs.

This will be the textile group’s third factory to close down. The company has four textile manufacturing factories.

In total, the company employs about 10 000 workers in the country.

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The group closed Glory International in August last year, Nien Hsing International in September this year and C & Y will be shutting its doors in December. The company will now be left with Formosa Textiles.

The deputy secretary of National Clothing and Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), Tṧepang Makakole, confirmed the closing of the factory as 7 400 workers are to go home.

Makakole said workers have already started being cut as the company is already in the final stages of its production ahead of its exit from the industry.

He said trade unions have no option to stop the closure of any textile factory if the shareholders choose to shut down.

In an interview with theReporter, the secretary general of the Independent Democratic Unions of Lesotho (IDUL), May Rathakane, said trade unions have been informed last July of the upcoming closure. Covid-19 pandemic was cited as cause for unexpected closure.

The Association of Lesotho Employers and Business (ALEB)’s chief executive officer, Advocate Lindiwe Sephomolo, confirmed the closure. But she did not have details about the move.

 “Some of the reasons the factory is closing are that their production costs are increasing because of the minimum wages that are being increased recklessly by 14 percent. The minimum wages are being increased without standard process and it is like ministers are buying votes by increasing minimum wages,” she said.

A local economist, Majakathata Mokoena, said the closing of factories will have negative impact on the country’s economy. He said any closure of a factory lead to a decrease in manufacturing industry.

 “The impact is mostly on job losses because I am sure there are over 10 000 people who lost jobs when the factories close. This means over 10 000 families are likely to be unable to put food on the table. Also there were other businesses that were dependent on workers’ earnings. Vendors who sell food stuffs to the workers are also to face hard time as their clients,” he said.

 “It was going to be better if government would afford to buy the machines that were used there so that they can start another factory. But we know government have been wasting money so it is just a sad situation,” Mokoena said.