Questions about the strategic plan for Seardel’s Frame Vertical Pipeline facility in Kwazulu-Natal have been met with empty promises of a “press release soon” -so Frame has decided to go ahead and retrench all 1400 workers involved. Frame’s future has been in the balance since Seardel’s first announcement in April that it would close its spinning, weaving, finishing and denim departments.

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) had said its talks with Seardel, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the National Empowerment Fund and the Ministry of Economic Development would be concluded at the end of last month.

Since then, there has been reluctance to talk. Rumours of establishing a separate entity to house Frame’s assets have been acknowledged but not confirmed.

The massive multiplier effect of the clothing industry would leave at least 7 000 people affected by the closure.

Sactwu’s deputy secretary-general, Andre Kriel, has said as much, but recently turned the spotlight away from Frame, preferring to discuss the mammoth tasks that lay ahead for Economic Development “comrade minister” Ebrahim Patel, the former general secretary of Sactwu, who appeared to be putting pressure on stakeholders to save Frame – which, in turn, looked like a favour to the union.

The dti said the answer now lay with the IDC, while the latter said on deadline day that its proposal was being discussed with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies before it was made public.

Stuart Queen, Seardel’s chief executive, said last week that he knew “as much as the media did” about the matter, but has since shared his views, saying saving Frame would be “impractical”. Yesterday there was still no announcement ready, so the brouhaha continues.

Source: Business Report – Business Watch