Axed textile workers 'will not be forgotten'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 March, 1998, 12:00am

Textile bosses are confident enough work can be found for workers made redundant under the plan to cut the number of spindles.

In Xinjiang, the country's largest cotton producer, the Number Two Factory of the Xinjiang Textile Corporation phased out its first 10,000 spindles yesterday as part of a national campaign to reduce textile production.

In three years, Xinjiang textile producers would have to cut their production capacity by 180,000 spindles, Xinhua reported. Nationwide, 10 million spindles will be scrapped and 1.2 million textile workers 'diverted' to other businesses.

Xu Kunyuan, vice-chairman of the Chinese General Association of the Textile Industry, said on an inspection tour of Zhejiang province that the reduction programme held the key to reform of state firms.

'The spindles reduction is an arduous task. The key is how to solve the problem of redundancy,' he said.

Mr Xu said workers who were over 40 must be resettled properly.

'They have contributed much to the textile industry. The Government will not forget them,' said Mr Xu, whose association has been in charge of the industry since 1993.

He was confident social conflict could be avoided because most textile firms were in coastal provinces which offered more job opportunities.

Ye Rongbao, a vice-governor in Zhejiang in charge of the reform, said although 30,000 textile workers would lose their jobs this year, they would enjoy priority in being assigned new jobs.

She said the provincial Government would be unable to find work for 4,300 textile workers this year and the majority would have to accept early retirement.

She said workers made redundant needed to 'adjust their mindset' and accept work with which they had little experience.

'There are about 10,000 laid-off workers in Hangzhou,' she said. 'But there are also about 10,000 jobs there filled by workers who came from other cities and provinces.'