Cosatu has reiterated its condemnation of factory closures and called on consumers to buy Proudly South African labelled clothing to help save jobs.

The labour federation made its statement following a closure threat facing three well-known clothing factories: Bonwit, Bibette and Monviso.

The three factories had 800 workers in their employ, which supported the livelihood of more than 8000 people, said Cosatu Western Cape’s secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, yesterday.

“We are outraged by the Seardel group’s threat to close a number of factories, something which would effectively put hundreds of workers out of jobs.

“These workers are in many instances single parents from the townships, whose families depend on their income,” said Ehrenreich.

“Seardel (a clothing and textile group) has taken millions of rands from government programmes to shore up their company and they were meant to restructure the operations and make it more effective.

“The money seems to have been pocketed as the cars and bonuses of directors are as extravagant as always and the companies are still struggling.” Ehrenreich also called on the unions and workers to “resist attempts to close the factories”.

“Cosatu will do all it can to assist them (workers) in this process. Often companies who manufacture here close down their factories and import the products from China, and then just sew the Proudly SA label into the clothing.

“This gives them a chance to” sell cheap Chinese imports and make super profits. We know that there are allegations that the unions are involved but we refute this. The unions have invested a lot of effort for the survival of the Seardel group.

“We also ask consumers to shun imported clothes and give preference to local products.

The company could not be reached for comment.

Source: The New Age – Nadine Ford-Kritzinger