South Africa faces factory closures resulting in thousands jobs losses. According to Etinne Vlok, the director of South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union’s South African Labour Research Institute (Salri), the South African clothing industry’s tough times are due to the lack of support from the local clothing retailers. This has also resulted in factory closures and thousands losing their jobs.
The latest employment statistics from Stats SA reveals there have been job loses in due to closer of factories. The data, based on Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for the March 2015 quarter showed that there was a year-to-year rise of 1.5 per cent in the number of people employed across the CTFL industry from March 2014 to March 2015. Besides, there was a 1.5 per cent rise in number of employees from December 2014 to March 2015. The sector saw a rise in total number of employees, from 87,386 to 88,657 year-to-year and from 87,319 to 88,657 quarter-to-quarter.
However, the clothing sector’s overall national numbers dropped from 210,000 to around 100,000 between the years 2002 and 2010, mentioned Vlok. Vlok added, as Stats SA only records national figures and not provincial ones, he estimated the numbers in this sector of the Western Cape dropped by a similar total over the same period—from about 80,000 to about 30,000 currently. It was caused by a flood of cheap imports, both legal and illegal, mainly from China.
This means products manufactured locally are able to compete better with imported ones. In 2000, the situation was the reverse, it was cheaper to import, which contributed to the jobs bloodbath in clothing sector. It is against this backdrop that one looked at the numbers from the Stats SA survey, which showed a small increase. Vlok further said the industry was stabilising and numbers in the survey too further confirm this.