The Leipaja clothing and textiles industry historically have been one of the most developed industry that operated more than 80 companies, of which most are lingerie producers. The textile industry is in a very serious standby mode at the moment as more than 500 workers in the textiles industry in Liepaja have been asked to go on annual leave due to lack of work according to Girts Kronbergs, head of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry branch in Liepaja.
Small textile companies that fully depend on their exports to Russian market were affected already in the latter half of 2014. Now it is the large companies, too, that are beginning to feel the impact of the Russian crisis.
The companies are not laying workers off, but workloads are decreasing and workers are being told to take vacation. That is not a bad solution. The large companies, if they have to cut output, can count on their workers when demand rises again, explained Kronbergs.
The fact that there are no massive layoffs proves that companies are finding a way to solve their problems. But according to approximate estimates, over 500 workers are on annual leave, said Kronbergs.
The larger textile companies â€“ Lauma Fabrics, Lauma Lingerie, V.O.V.A â€“ also market their products in other countries, therefore the crisis in Russia is having a less serious impact on them. The small companies, however, are going through hard times.
According to Liepaja branch of the State Employment Agency, 125 seamstresses registered with the agency from last June to February 5 this year. As of February 16, there were 4,312 unemployed persons in Liepaja, and the unemployment rate was at 12.9%.
Most of the production by the seventy to eighty textile companies in Liepaja is being exported, majority to the CIS and the EU countries. A year ago, more than 3,000 people were hired in Liepaja textiles industry. The textile industry hires qualified labor and uses modern production technologies, thereby stands out with high quality production and global competitiveness.
Liepaja is the 3rd largest city in Latvia and 10th largest one in the Baltic States, located on a stretch of land between the Baltic Sea and the LiepÄja Lake, which are connected by the Trade Canal and hence Liepaja has very favourable environment for business.
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