The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has taken note of the announcement by Seardel of its intention to close down the spinning, weaving, finishing and denim divisions of Frame Textiles’ vertical pipeline. The company has advised that a final decision has not yet been made, that it is subject to further consultations with the union, but that it envisages that 1 400 jobs would be lost, should the closure proceed. Each of these 1 400 jobs support at least an average of six dependants.

The multiplier effect of this decision, if it proceeds, is much worse, not only for South Africa but also for the whole Southern African region.

The union was formally advised of the company’s intentions at a meeting held in Durban last Thursday, April 9 2009.

We are outraged at the fact that another significant part of South Africa’s industrial capacity has been brought to a position where it may close down and believe that this decision needs to be urgently reviewed. There is a special responsibility on HCI and government to do more than it has done to date to save these jobs and prevent such a crucial part of our local high level productive capacity from being lost.

Workers in those sections of the Frame vertical pipeline which is now being considered for closure have made enormous sacrifices to help keep the company afloat. During the course of last year, these workers voluntarily accepted a 15%-20% reduction in their total cost of employment and have agreed to work a more onerous shift pattern.

We are extremely disappointed in the failure of the IDC and the Department of Trade & Industry to respond adequately to avert this crises and place a special responsibility on them, as well as on HCI, to take such urgent steps as may be required to help turn Frame Textiles around and to save a significant number of jobs which are now being threatened.

The first priority of the union is now to brief its members of the company’s intentions. Thereafter, we will enter into formal negotiations with the management. As is required by the provisions of the Labour Relations Act, our first priority will be to attempt to prevent the closure.

Source: Moneyweb – SACTWU