Tex Styles MD speaks on recent industrial unrest


Tex Styles MD speaks on recent industrial unrest

There have been recent press reports about industrial unrest at Tex Styles Ghana Ltd. and Union demands to replace the new Managing Director, Fatamatou Doro, for her ‘high-handed behaviour’.

A number of allegations have been made and denied, and the National Labour Commission (NLC) has been engaged for their impartial input into the dispute. The NLC quickly ruled that Fatou, who was shut out of her office, should be allowed to return to work and asked for normal industrial relations to resume.

In the meantime, the appointments of seven (7) employees have been terminated. The Managing Director, Fatoumata Doro, has agreed to answer questions about the recent events exclusively to the Business & Financial Times – and here are some of the answers she gives:

Question: What was the reason for the industrial action that you are dealing with today?

Answer: In all honesty, I am unclear about the reason for the industrial action. One of the things I would expect is if there is any concern by my employees or the union, we sit at the table and we try to find out the best way in resolving those issues. But I have never had the chance to have this kind of meeting as I was barred from entering the factory premises. So yes, there are some allegations against me which do not have any substance. But even by reading those allegations, I can’t really tell what the unions want – except for the fact that they want me to go.

Question: Okay. Did management take any steps to address this crisis when it erupted?

Answer: We are a company that abides by the law, and what we have tried as much as possible is to understand the Ghana law. I am not from Ghana, so I have surrounded myself with good experts, good lawyers, good labour consultants, and they told me what I had to follow. We met the Minister of Employment and he really gave us good advice. He asked for the protest to be stopped immediately, which didn’t happen. He also asked to meet again with the union and myself, which didn’t happen. I was willing to do that, but the union wasn’t available although ICU filed a complaint to the Labour Commission. Three separate meetings were called. They only attended the third one on 23rd March.

Question: What’s been the impact of their actions?

Answer: It’s been impactful and especially financially. We have barely achieved fifty percent of our sales from the previous month, and it is going to affect us a lot. Not just affect us as a company, but affect our customers and affect the whole economy; because if you affect the company, you affect the supplier, you affect the customers, you affect the consumers that may have made plans based on the fabric they are supposed to use for specific events.

So you can imagine the bank accounts of our customers today; and you can also imagine that today we have a lot of backlog orders for production that we were supposed to deliver for people who had events, which they will probably not receive in time. Some of our fabric is based on events; for example parties, funerals – so if you miss the date, you miss everything. So, we will not be able to fulfil what we have promised to the consumers and customers. Overall, financially, we have been affected; but I would say more than that is the whole company spirit. GTP has always been known in this country as being a strong brand. All these issues have negatively affected the brand and it will take a while to adjust.

I would say that it will take us at least a month and half to catch up with this delay.

Question: What other challenges are there facing this company?

Answer: So, challenges from a business perspective, right? TSG is, if I can put it bluntly, bankrupt if our owners were to demand immediate repayment of inter-company loans. We have a huge debt that we are not able to pay right now, and we are very happy to have new shareholders who joined us eight months ago and who really believe in the goal of the company and are willing to invest. They would invest assuming the plan and the strategies I have shared with them are implemented, because they do believe in the cause.

We have a plan to double the business in the next three to five years which means that there will be an increase in investments, a change of machinery and an increase in the number of employees. We plan to make a roughly fifteen-million-dollar investment. We plan to increase by at least 25% the number of employees. We are planning to position the GTP brand not just as the normal brand that you know, but as an international brand. We want to take Ghana to the world. We do not want to just be a local brand, we want to be an international brand. So, we are moving away from being a manufacturer, a textile company, to an international fashion brand. That’s the dream. That’s the vision.

The whole strategy we are putting together is to make sure that anyone who is in the US or UK can now buy GTP. And when they are buying GTP, they see it as being a unique premium brand that merits the prices they are paying and not see it as the normal raw material they see on the market. That’s the whole difference. And we all know that commodities don’t add value, but when you position a brand and you elevate it, then you can receive a much higher price. And that’s where the profit will come from; that’s where the growth will come from. You need to change the game, you need to forget about what you are used to doing the same way and do it differently. You need to compete to the highest standard.

Question: Do you see a big potential for the industry in Ghana or even beyond?

Answer: Oh yes, oh yes. The African textile brand is growing fast. Just look at all these new actors and celebrities. What are they wearing? They are always mixing something with our African prints. Why don’t we own it? Why do we let all the big brands use our brands and claim it as their own? We have worn it for so many years and we know how to do it better than them. There is a future – as long as you know how to position your brand in the eye of consumers, and as long as you don’t focus only on Ghana. We want to be seen as being a global brand.

Question: Where do you see TSG in the next five to ten years?

Answer: Well, I see TSG being a very strong company in Ghana. I would like to talk not just about TSG but TSG as a brand. I am a marketer. That’s my background. We have VLISCO, GTP and Woodin, and I would like in five years when I put my feet on any country in Africa, or when I go to New York, to hear the name GTP and see people who are really proud of wearing our outfits because it embodies everything they stand for. That’s the dream.

Question: Any final comments?

Change is a constant in today’s world; and in the fashion and textile industry, beset with unfair competition and the need to anticipate consumers’ wants, it is always a dominant theme.

How do we react to change? Do we resist it, accept it, embrace it or initiate it? One thing we can’t do is ignore it.

The future is not what will happen to us, but what we will do.

Please find source HERE .

GNBCC | News