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By Sheetal Singh

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, April 25) – More than 3,000 employees lost their jobs when a Lautoka, Fiji, garment factory shut down last week.

Lautoka City Council town clerk Pusp Raj said the layoffs, at Ghim Li Garments, will have a serious impact on the area’s economy.

Raj said there had been several industries that gained support from the operation of garment factories in the city and this support had now being lost.

"Support industry in the sense that there was the bus services, which was previously hired by this Ghim Li garment factories for transportation of its workers. Revenue earned from this will now be lost

"The city council has not been officially informed by the company directors on the closure of the factory but gained knowledge of it through the media," said Raj.

It is believed that with the closure of Ghim Li's garment factories in Nadi, Ba and Lautoka, the bus companies would face a loss close to $28, 000 (US$17,000) per annum in revenue earned specifically from hired transportation for garment workers.

"There are shops, fast food restaurants, food stalls, carrier and taxi drivers that will also lose out on business as the major customers were these unemployed former garment workers," he said. "The buying power in the Lautoka city is forecast to decrease with close to 3000 people jobless in the city resulting from the closure of the garment factory."

Garment worker Sarojini Lata said that it would be hard to get a new job within the city, as there were too many unemployed people.

"I am now wondering what to do next as I have not been able to get a new job for two weeks now since I was laid off."

Company director Simon Tay said he would make an official announcement on the closure.

April 26, 2005

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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