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24th March 2009, Dhaka

1600 lose jobs as Bangladeshi knitwear unit closes


Sunshine Knitwear Limited closed its factory in Tejgaon yesterday, laying off 1600 workers, after the company made serious losses in the fallout from the global financial crisis and labour trouble.

SNR Towfiq, General Manager of the factory, told The Daily Star that falling orders and low price-offers from international buyers in times of recession had forced the management of the company to shut its factory. Frequent labour unrests also put pressure on the all export-oriented company, he said.

Labour unrest broke out at the factory at least five times over the last three years with the latest bout coming only a few days ago. Angry workers physically assaulted some factory officials, speeding up the decision for a shutdown, Towfiq said.

According to the Daily Star, Sunshine Knitwear paid out all worker arrears yesterday after workers were notified on February 17 about the shutdown of the factory. Set up in 1996, the factory had the reputation of paying its staff on time, the company said. "So the chaos by a handful of workers is unjustified", an official added.

The factory management has no immediate plan to restart, although the other units of the company will stay in operation. Rafiqul Islam, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, who deals with labour issues, said the final payday passed off without clashes.

Source: The Daily Star

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