TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Namibia: Ramatex Labour Talks On Course

Tuesday, 08 February 2005

Source: New Era (Windhoek)

Although there are some divergent views on labour conditions at Ramatex, the government says the company and the representative labour union are competent enough to resolve their differences.

The government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has been chairing consultative meetings since last Friday between the two parties on labour relations, including labour productivity and the competitiveness of Ramatex.

Andrew Ndishishi, permanent secretary for MTI told the press yesterday the two parties have expressed willingness to work more closely together to advance their interests using existing legal frameworks.

Ndishishi said, "It came to light that the issues at hand can be adequately dealt with and resolved within the framework of the law and agreement entered into between the Namibia Food and Allied Workers' Union (Nafau) and Rama- tex."

Nafau entered into two agreements with Ramatex, which include the recognition and substantive agreements. All Nafau could say at the conference was that the two parties had consultations on labour relations.

At the same conference, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Calle Schlettwein welcomed the news that negotiations between the union and the textile company were on track because anything to the contrary would jeopardise the investment the company has made.

Ramatex alone, excluding other companies in the textile industry, contributes 1.5 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product and 17.5 percent to the country's foreign currency earnings.

The whole textile industry, he added, pivots around Rama-tex, which gives more reason why there should be negotiations to resolve the differences between the two parties.

Ndishishi also dispelled rumours that the factory would close shop in Namibia because Ramatex and any other textile factory operating from Namibia were not endangered by the multi-fibre agreement, which puts quotas for companies emanating from Asia. Although the agreement was lifted last December, Asian companies still have to pay duty.

Namibian companies on the other hand, have no quota and do not have to pay duty.

A human resources manager of Ramatex, David Yong, who was also present at the press briefing, said there were too many rumours in Namibia concerning Ramatex. He said although the media had reported about the closure of Rhino Garments by January end, "today is February 7 and Rhino is still standing".

He however said a part of the factory, Factory C, was undergoing restructuring and was not closing down. Yong however agreed that representatives of Shopko, a US-based store were in the country last week to investigate some labour matters.

He said the company was told that Ramatex was using child and forced labour, which was not true.



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Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include: (click each link to view)

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