Textile plant fires 600 workers

2013-03-21 00:00

AN illegal work stoppage by 600 Tai-Yuen Textiles factory workers backfired when they were dismissed on Monday. This will affect thousands of people in Mooi River who depend solely on the income of the axed workers.

The company dismissed the workers after they went on an illegal industrial action that started on March 6 and ended this week.

South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) regional secretary Dennis Maluleka told The Witness that workers embarked on the work stoppage demanding that a senior manager be suspended pending the outcome of a hearing.

Maluleka quoted employees as saying that the norms of the company were to suspend workers if there was a hearing pending against a particular employee.

“So workers were questioning management as to why the senior manager had not been suspended as it had been done previously to their colleagues when there was a hearing against them,” he said.

Maluleka said they were given an ultimatum to return to work but they refused, leading to management’s decision to dismiss the 600 workers.

“We as the union tried to resolve the matter internally, but failed, so we decided to take this to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration after we were officially given the dismissal letters on Monday.”

Maluleka said the job losses were tragic for the community of Mooi River because Tai-Yuen Textiles was the biggest employer in the area.

A former president of the Mooi River and Midlands Rotary Club, John Tungay, said they were deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the community of Mooi River. “It is our hope that the factory management will seriously reconsider the reappointment of the striking workers until there has been a fair resolution to the root cause of the problem.”

Several attempts by The Witness to get comments from the Taiwan-based Tai-Yuen Textiles Company’s management were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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