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Mapeto DWS retrenches 300 employees

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Mapeto DWS, formerly known as David Whitehead and Sons Limited, the biggest textile making manufacturer in the country, last week laid off 300 of its employees due to what it says is a difficult economic situation.

The company’s General Manager, Martin Mpata, confirmed in an exclusive interview with The Daily Times that the company has been trying to maintain its human resource despite the economic challenge with the hope that things would finally register a turn-around, but the situation reached a level where retrenchment was the only best solution.

Mpata said most of the employees, who have been laid off, are from the manufacturing, crop purchases and support department in the Manufacturing Department and that once the company gets back on track, the retrenched employees will be considered for re-employment.

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“These are some of the measures we have taken to survive because we don’t have overage to pay people when they produce and we can’t sell,” he said

Mpata attributed the company’s move to smuggling which he said has affected the country’s textile business and other sectors and asked government to arrest the situation before it is too late.

“If only they can contain the smuggling, it’s not only the textiles but other manufacturing companies that are affected by this. For a country to grow, they need a manufacturing base and they must be protected because, if the manufacturing base is weakened by allowing people to smuggle, what it means is everyone will resort to buying from the smugglers since they are cheap and the government will not have money,” he explained

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Commenting on the development, Minister of Trade and Industry, Joseph Mwanamvekha, described the development as regrettable and said his ministry is aware of the increase in smuggling and that his ministry’s staff is on the ground to tighten security in all the borders.

“We have been talking with them and very soon we will sit down again and see how we can come in to assist, but the issue of labour, although it is not my area of jurisdiction, I hope the company has followed the right measures because 300 people is huge and you cannot just retrench such a large number of employees without consulting with the Ministry of Labour,” said Mwanamvekha

He said the company has moved from implementing the three-shift, 24-hour per day and six-days a week shifts to a 12-hour per day and five days per week shift as one way of surviving and minimizing overhead costs.

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