Textile blues hit jobless

The country’s textile industry appears to be going through a crisis that is weighing heavily on jobless figures, as data show that in the first nine months of the year 25 businesses in the sector closed down. With each company employing about 150 workers, the closures have sent unemployment rates soaring, especially in rural parts of the country. Over the past decade, some 44,000 employees at spinning mills and clothes manufacturers have lost their jobs. One of the problems dogging the sector is that a large number of operations are migrating to Eastern European or Balkan states, such as Bulgaria or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as a means of boosting competitiveness and slashing labor costs. Last week workers in the northern city of Naoussa, including local municipality staff, went on a 24-hour strike in support of 110 employees laid off at a local spinning mill. The government has yet to announce whether it can do anything to help save the production plant, like it did last year.