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Defending Clothing Jobs

Defending Clothing Jobs

The union representing textile and clothing workers in New Zealand has reacted positively to the announcement that Yakka Apparel Solutions (YASL) has been awarded a five year contract to supply clothing and personal support items to the NZ Defence Force.

“Defence procurement of clothing and other personal items is a major industry and can employ hundreds of NZ workers,” said National Distribution Union General Secretary, Robert Reid.

“In addition, there is strong community support for our Defence Force to be clothed and kitted out in NZ made product,” he said.

“YASL has shown a commitment to many NZ manufacturers over the years of its previous contract with Defence. YASL has its own manufacturing base on Auckland’s North Shore where the union has 30 members and also provides work to subcontractors in NZ employing many more kiwi workers. However YASL has also disappointed by taking work off other NZ manufacturers such as Swazi during this period.”

“Although YASL is not obligated to source from NZ manufacturers we want it to continue and increase its procurement of NZ made product,” Robert Reid said.

Positive discrimination in favour of local suppliers for Defence is allowed under WTO rules and many bi-lateral agreements. Most countries in the world do favour local producers for Defence contracts, he said.

Robert Reid said that the union would be contacting YASL over the next few days to ensure that it would be sub-contracting to NZ firms employing kiwi workers.

“After all the bad news for NZ manufacturing over the last couple of days, we are hopeful that this announcement will be good news for clothing and textile workers in New Zealand,” Robert Reid said.


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