SUNBIZ

COVID-19: Garment Factories Feel Impact

Council president Michael Towler said they arre requesting Government to arrange with the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) the same arrangement made to the Fijian workers in the hospitality sector who have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut.
03 Apr 2020 11:46
COVID-19: Garment Factories Feel Impact
Lyndhurst Limited. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala

The Textile Clothing & Footwear Industry Council of Fiji (TCF) is seeking Government intervention as some garment factories have temporarily closed its business and sent people home.

This is in light of the coronavirus pandemic that is impacting business around the world.

Council president Michael Towler said they arre requesting Government to arrange with the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) the same arrangement made to the Fijian workers in the hospitality sector who have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut.

The Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had announced past Thursday that Fijian workers in the hospitality sector who have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut since 1 February 2020 can –– for now –– access an initial $1,000 from their FNPF accounts, with additional funds to be considered as the situation unfolds further.

Mr Towler said: “We are requesting Government to assist with the same employment benefits to the staff of the garment industry that have been impacted by any shutdowns or are operating on reduced hours.”

The council had requested a meeting with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, but were still waiting at 3pm for a response since the meeting was deferred from 11am to a later time by the ministry, yesterday.

Industry components

The Textile Clothing & Footwear Industry Council directly employs 7,000 Fijians, and the indirect impact is even higher when extended to the employees’ households: approximately 20,000 Fijian men, women and children depend on industry daily needs.

Further still, the economic empowerment of industry skews heavily female: 80 per cent of industry employees are women.

SunBiz visited a few garment factories, who have closed business since last week.

Lyndhurst Ltd

Lyndhurst Limited, one of the largest fashion garment manufacturer in Fiji exporting approximately 35,000 units per week closed its doors last week.

With 800 staff, the company have sent most of its staff home on leave.

It is understood that only 20 employees are working on the company’s last shipment to New Zealand and Australia.

Mark One Apparel

At the moment, Mark One Apparel in Valelevu is conserving the amount of work done to stretch out employment.

Company managing director Mark Halabe says they are not receiving new orders from their customers.

“So we know that when the current work in progress is completed we will need to go into hibernation,” Mr Halabe said.

He said their export customers are basically in shut down mode, and they really have no immediate need of product.

Mr Halabe said the company has measures in place for staff this includes;

  • All staff entering work are tested for their temperature, any one showing a heightened body temperature are returned home.
  • All staff must wash their hands prior to entering the premises.
  • All staff are issued with a facemask every day.
  • All staff must practice physical distancing.
  • All rest breaks have been spread out to allow for physical distancing.

He said the company had ceased all over time, and have pulled back to the minimum working hours.

“Our aim is to keep as many employed for as long as possible using all the tools available to us.”

Intimate Apparel Ltd

Intimate Apparel Ltd, in Vatuwaqa has confirmed it will operate for another month.

Company managing director Wanarajan said they would be operating as normal this month.

The company employs all its 180 staff.

For the employees Mr Wanarajan said no one has been send home and there hasn’t been a pay cut.

He said the only problem for them is shipping of goods to their overseas markets.

This company produces lingerie as its core business while remain open to other products include, active wear, swim wear, maternity wear, team wear, school uniforms and fashion garments. Accordingly, Mr Wanarajan said their workers are wearing protective wears while at work.

“We will continue to serve our valued customers’ needs and want beyond their expectation.We introduce ourselves as a reputed garment manufacturer for the past 16 years.”

Danam Fiji Limited

Danam Fiji Limited based Lautoka, closed its doors on March 20.

United Apparel

United Apparel general manager Mahesh Patel refused to comment yesterday.

Ranjit Garment Limited

Human Resources Manager Saiyad Raiyum refused to comment when contacted yesterday.

Nagsun Apparel

Nadi based Nagsun Apparel is understood to have closed down and will reopen on April 14.

All garments manufactured by Nagsun Apparel are 100 per cent made in Fiji by Fijians.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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