GTP sends 130 home as 'monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop' syndicate bites

GTP sends 130 home as 'monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop' syndicate bites
Source: Ghana||
Date: 25-11-2016 Time: 02:11:12:pm
Photo credit:GTP

Textiles printing firm GTP has sent 130 of its workers home, Secretary-General of the Ghana Federation of Labour Abraham Koomson has revealed.

Some cheeky laughter followed his announcement. It was the sort of laughter that supposes, 'this is just the is about to get worse'.

And yes - it is getting worse, he added immediately.

"ATL, Printex, they are all on their marks and anything can happen to them also", he predicted doomsday in an interview with Beatrice Adu on Joy News.

The textiles industry is arguably the largest job-cutting industry in the country where rich cultural heritage should have made it a booming business.

At the height of the four-year energy crisis [dumsor] businesses cried about laying off staff.

Well, the textiles industry has been experiencing its own 'dumsor' for the past 45 years. From a massive workforce of 25,000 in the 1970s, the textile industry now employs 1,700. Stories about job-cuts have become mundane.

GTP Factory, Aerial View

About 20 companies existed in the 80s. Only about 8 remain. Just to mention a few among the few - Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL), Textyl Printex and the Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company (GTMC) and Ghana Textiles Limited (GTP).

It is not because of the absence of power but the weakness of policy on how to tackle smuggling.

Ruthless smuggling of cheap imports has dealt a very cruel blow to the industry, it is begging on its knees.

"Look if we even go and sleep in the market, these people will bring [smuggled goods]. Almost every day we make arrests", Mr Koomson who doubles as a member of the Anti-piracy taskforce said in an exasperated voice. 

Telling its own story of how smuggling has caused havoc to the company, GTL wrote on its website's;

"The new millennium (2000) sees GTP reach a production milestone that would have seemed impossible in its 1980s slump.  The company produces an incredible 16 million yards of fabric. 

Regrettably, this amazing zenith is undermined by the glut of cheap, inferior quality imports, leading to a decline to 7.5 million yards by 2006".

That was in 2006. Add 10 more years of smuggling and what you get is a subtraction from its work force - 130 have now become jobless.

An important player in the industry, Mr Koomson who is also the Chairman of the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Union, accused Customs officials of conniving with smugglers to bring fake textiles into the country.

We have had occasions where we chanced on Customs officials who have seized trucks but refused to dispose of them, he said.

Since the introduction of National Friday Wear by the Kufuor government in 2004, there has been an incredible boom in the patronage of textile products.

An increasing fashion conscious generation and the millennial youth have ensured that there is a guaranteed market for local textiles.

But while the production machines of GTP and others work in the day, a get-rich-quick, a monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop syndicate harvests this demand at night.

And so when the GTP, ATL and other trucks pull up in the market to supply their goods, the market is full.

Abraham Koomson interview starts after 15mins.