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Shortage of workers hampers textile producers
Posted by NewsBot on 2/01/2010 10:54:51 a.m. Reply to this post

Orders from international buyers for textile and garment-related products by local manufacturers are picking up after almost a year of slowdown.

However, most of them have to turn down the orders or only take partial orders as they are unwilling to commit themselves to the rising demand.

“This is largely due to a shortage of workers faced by many textile and garment factories in the district,” Yong Tai executive director Tai Shzee Yuan told StarBiz after the company AGM recently.

He said the issue of shortage of production workers in the industry was not new as local producers and exporters largely depended on foreign workers for their operations.

Tai said manufacturers had little choice but to hire Cambodians, Nepalese and Vietnamese as locals were not interested to work in such factories. Although they had to fork out additional costs such as air tickets, permits and lodgings to bring in the foreign workers, he said it was better than hiring locals as they (locals) were too demanding, willing to work only five days a week, not willing to work on public holidays or overtime, and often took medical leave.

He said the company once hired 200 local production workers but half of them left after two weeks, and only a handful remained by the fourth week.

Foreign workers, on the other hand, were more than willing to work without offdays, and happy to work overtime and even on public holidays, he said, adding that the main problem was that they were only allowed a two-year contract.

Tai said the relevant authorities should look at ways to assist the industry by extending the contract period and not frequently changing the policies on hiring foreigners.

“The industry is time sensitive as we (producers) have to deliver the finished products on time or else we will be penalised.”

Tai said the industry was still labour-intensive as some of the operations needed many workers and could not depend on automation.

He said the only way for the local companies to survive was to continue hiring foreigners or move their operations to Cambodia, Indonesia or Vietnam where labour was not a problem.

For the financial year ended June 30, 2009 (FY09), Yong Tai recorded a net loss of RM3.26mil on revenue of RM149.67mil against a net loss of RM340,000 on revenue of RM179.59mil in FY08.

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