Business News of 2013-12-18

Workers demonstrate against influx of pirated textile

Scores of textile workers yesterday demonstrated through some principal streets of Accra to register their displeasure at the high rate of importation of pirated textiles into the country.

The workers also expressed their disappointment at the government’s inability to ensure that a task force it set up to check the importation of pirated textiles performed its duties.

The demonstrators, some of whom came from the Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Printex and GTP, began the march from the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and went through the central business district before converging on the Hearts of Oak Park, where they presented a petition to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu.

Spotting red T-shirts and armbands, the workers carried placards, some of which read: “Stop pirating”; “Save Ghana from fake goods”; “We need quality materials in the country”, and “Give good validity to the textile factories”.

They also chanted slogans and sang songs, some of which told of their predicament and called for help.

TGLEU leader

In a chat with the Daily Graphic, the Chairman of the Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU), Mr John Kwesi Amoah, said the group was not against the importation of textiles into the country per se.

“We are not against the importation or manufacturing of quality wax prints in the country. But they must stop imitating the trademarks and logos used by companies such as ATL, GTP and Printex. That is a bad practice and an infringement on our intellectual properties,” the chairman said.

Commenting on Chinese pirated wax prints on the Ghanaian market, Mr Amoah said the development had dire consequences for the economy.

Allow task force to work

On the task force set up to check pirated textile products on the markets, Mr Amoah expressed disappointment that it had virtually ceased to exist.

He called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the task force was revived to help clamp down on the activities of pirates on the market.

The chairman, who is also the Assistant Manager, Brand Protection at ATL, said the country’s textile industry was collapsing, saying that was a threat to the lives of textile workers and their families, as well as the economy.

Trade Minister responds

Mr Iddrisu, who received the workers’ petition, told them that the government was committed to solving the issues regarding the importation of fake textiles into the country.

“I want to assure you that the government remains committed to fighting the flooding of our markets with pirated textiles. It is not an acceptable practice and has a dire consequence on the textile industry in Ghana, which is a major source of employment and revenue to Ghana,” he said.

He said the government had no intention of stopping the work of the task force.