THE clothing sector in Bulawayo expects to employ more than 1 000 people by the end of this year despite offloading close to 500 workers in 2014 due to an influx of cheap fabrics from outside the country.
Southern Eye Business is reliably informed that Merlin is set to hire at least 400 people after it successfully secured an investor to pour in $30 million in late 2014.
Archer Manufacturing Clothing expects to employ 250 by June with the number more than doubling to around 850 by year end.
Main Protective Clothes is expected to employ at least 80 people and had recruited more than 30 workers by yesterday.
Edgars and Farmcor are also employing.
Officials from Edgars and Main Protective Clothes confirmed that they would be employing this month, but declined to give specific details saying their competitors may use the information against them.
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturing Association chairman Jeremy Youmans confirmed that the sector would be recruiting, but also declined to give specific figures.
“Yes, the sector would be employing,” Youmans said.
Turning to Archer where the company he manages wants to take over, Youmans said they would first focus on infrastructure development before employing more people.
“As for Archer, yes, we are contemplating employing a number of people, but that will depend on the court ruling. If the process is taking longer to conclude we will not rush to employ many people. If everything goes well, by the end of June we might have employed at least 250 people,” he said.
Recently creditors of Archer finally approved its takeover by Harare-based Paramount Garments saving it from liquidation, but according to Youmans, the court is yet to give a ruling.
Merlin, which produced towels and nappies, used to employ more than 1 000 workers at its peak whereas Archer used to employ more than 850.
Bulawayo used to be a major textile centre with many companies, but most of them have either scaled down or closed shop.
Some of the companies that closed down include True Value, Label Fashion, Suntosha Leisure Wear, Lancaster, Harren Manufacturing, Ascot, Belmor Fashions, Cinderella and Rusglen Fashions.
At one time the sector was a major employer with more than 30 000 workers on its books. According to the National Employment Council for the clothing sector secretary-general Justice Mashinti, the sector has slightly more than 5 000 workers employed by about 100 remaining companies.