Disastrous to the industry

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TCF Council president Inbamalar Wanarajan says the TCF industry was already suffering from recently imposed local costs increases and passing on these new additional costs to the export customers would destroy Fiji industry to compete internationally. Picture: SUPPLIED

FIJI Trade Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony’s anticipation of national minimum wage of $6-$7 per hour will be disastrous to the Textile Clothing and Footwear Industry
in Fiji.

TCF Council president Inbamalar Wanarajan yesterday said the TCF industry was already suffering from recently imposed local costs increases and passing on these new additional costs to
the export customers would destroy Fiji industry to compete internationally.

Ms Wanarajan said imposed wage increases without any contribution towards productivity was counterproductive to any industry.

“Our industry employs over 7000 workers of which 80 per cent are women.

“Most do not hold professional qualifications.

The TCF industry needs to be consulted well before taking any steps towards wages increases.

“The TCF industry needs to be nurtured and protected and not destroyed.

“Increasing manufacturing in Fiji is a national strategic goal to diversify the economic base.

“The proposal to increase NMW by another 50 per cent will soon eliminate manufacturing from Fiji altogether,” she said.

She said the proposed 50 percent NMW increase challenges the industry with other recently imposed increased costs including a recent 48 per cent NMW
increase, increased FNPF employer contribution, a new 3 per cent tariff on raw materials and increase of company tax by 5 per cent.

“Factories will have but one option which is to focus on exit strategy.”

She said at many instances the TCF industry had explained why the declining employment from 20,000, 20 years ago to now only
7000 was because of similar imposed cost increases without any productivity offsetting making Fiji less competitive.

“This proposal now under consideration will certainly be another nail in the coffin,” said Ms Wanarajan.

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