Textile job cuts spin out of control

Workers in the northern city of Naoussa went on strike yesterday in support of employees laid off at a local spinning mill as woes in the region’s textile sector spread, leaving a growing number of people to cope with unemployment. The workers went on a 24-hour strike after news that Naoussa Spinning Mills, which belongs to a group listed on the Athens stock market, will close down two of its factories in the area, laying off 110 people. Dozens of the recently dismissed workers took to the streets to protest against the decision and call for government help, again. Last year, employees at the same company helped secure state support after planned job cuts threatened to lift the region’s rising number of unemployed. The Athens News Agency reported that the jobless rate in Naoussa is around 50 percent. Problems in the sector reach into other parts of the north as well. In Thessaloniki yesterday, 320 workers from three different textile companies demanded that their employers pay salaries owed to them, by staging a sit-in and taking control of company property. Industry sources say that in the northeastern region of Thrace, some 300 employees in the sector have lost their livelihood in the last five months. Analysts say that despite the sector’s increase in demand, businesses are closing down to relocate to Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), to slash labor costs.

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