Last month’s announcement from the Australian company Pacific Brands that it was eliminating some of its smaller labels and relocating all domestic manufacturing to China (Shoe Intelligence, Vol. 10, No. 5) has unions up in arms. The groups have called for a boycott of the company to protest the loss of 1,850 jobs, which Pacific Brands says is necessary to save 150 million Australian dollars (€76.2m-$99.0m) by 2011.

In an attempt to find a way to save the jobs, executives from the company have said they are welcoming potential buyers to acquire parts of the business and keep the jobs in those divisions.

Management also spoke with representatives of Australia’s government and the main textile and footwear union about the company’s plans, stressing the need to remember that more than 7,000 employees, and the company’s profits, will remain in the country, and that any boycott would hurt them as well as the Pacific Brands.

Pacific Brands has also proposed an independent fund to help retrain employees of clothing manufacturers who are made redundant. The company presented this proposal to the government.