Scottish Textile News
The Covid-19 virus is having an impact on many different aspects of business including how employers cope with sick pay. The following advice has been prepared for Textiles Scotland, part of UKFT, by the UKFT Employment Adviser.
When an employee is sick or self-isolating because of Covid-19, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is likely to apply and for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full.
However, there may be a problem when employees in a completely different area, e.g. warehouse or even a different factory are consequently laid off simply because with another area shut down there is no work for them to do. In this case they would not need to self-isolate and could not claim SSP.
The question of layoff then arises. Some companies will still follow National Agreements which may include the right to layoff, and payments made are either in accordance with the Employment Rights Act for the first five days in any 13 week period, or in accordance with the terms of the National Agreement, whichever is the higher. However, the overwhelming majority of employment contracts are likely to only have a right to layoff in certain circumstances, such as the failure of supplies or power cuts.
If there is no contractual right to layoff, then an employer doing so is liable to claims of constructive dismissal. Whilst it is expected that most employees would be sensible and understanding about layoff in such circumstances, some employees may be looking for a reason to resign with some form of compensatory payment which would be likely, in the best circumstances, to be at least as much as a redundancy payment. For example, they could have requested redundancy or be in the middle of disciplinary or competence actions. Employers should be well aware of these risks.
It should also be noted that employees who are laid off continuously for four weeks or whose earnings fall below 50% of average for 6 weeks out of 13 are entitled to claim an automatic redundancy payment.
There is more information available on the ACAS website here.
Textiles Scotland members with specific employment queries relating to the impact of Covid-19 or any other query related to employment law please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for Scottish fashion and textile companies on the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to prepare your business, with guidance on supply chains, sales, factories and key workers.
Textiles Scotland, part of UKFT, urges all companies to consider some of the issues they may face over the coming weeks and months, and prepare for any disruption the outbreak may cause by developing contingency plans and issuing the necessary communication with both their employees and clients.
Check the guidelines and protocols suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) at www.who.int and any local /national public health authorities about containing and mitigating against any further spread of the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The symptoms of Coronavirus/ COVID-19 are similar to other illnesses, especially “the flu” but the degree of severity will vary from one person to another. It is believed that most people who contract COVID-19 will recover but older people or those with underlying health issues (such as diabetes or asthma or those having suffered a heart attack) are at far greater risk.
The main symptoms are:
If you have fever, cough and or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Contact NHS Direct on 111 in the UK or a local health care provider (dial 112 in the EU) if you have travelled in an area where COVID-19 has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has respiratory symptoms, if you have symptoms or suspect you may have the disease. The recommended self-quarantine period is at least 14 days. Isolate yourself. Do not go to your GP practice, pharmacy or a hospital unless instructed to do so by a qualified healthcare professional.
Why? Whenever you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, it is important to seek medical attention promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Respiratory symptoms with fever can have a range of causes, and depending on your personal travel history and circumstances, COVID-19 could be one of them.
Infection Control Guidelines (adapted from the WHO site):
The World Health Organisation’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and “respiratory” hygiene, and safe food practices:
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water and/or use an alcohol-based hand rub even if your hands are not visibly dirty. This is especially important after travelling on public transport, on arrival at home or work.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and hot water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
Cough or sneeze info your elbow (aka practicing “respiratory hygiene”)
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and hot water.
Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. Note: In the fashion industry, it is customary for people to hug and kiss, or shake hands. You would need to refrain from this kind of contact in the case of an outbreak.
Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like COVID-19, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
Keep the following especially clean:
Prepare your business
Businesses owners/directors should review their own procedures to ensure that they are prepared for an outbreak which might affect their supply chain or the safety of their working environment.
For the supply chain – these will include:
For sales, these may include:
For your office/factory/working these may include:
Key workers may also suffer other issues relating to the outbreak, including:
Wherever possible, anticipate problems before they occur and promote a positive, clean, flexible and safe working environment.
How to self –monitor
If you are required to self-monitor, you should look out for symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat and lethargy. If you experience any of these symptoms you should immediately self-isolate and follow the advice below.
How to self-isolate
If there’s a chance you could have Coronavirus, you may be asked by a medical professional to stay away from other people (self-isolate).
This means you should:
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.
Treatment for Coronavirus
There is currently no specific treatment for Coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You’ll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you’ve recovered.
Health Protection Scotland: Latest information and advice
Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Travel Advice
NHS: Common questions about the virus
World Health Organization: Technical Guidance on Points of Entry and Mass Gatherings
Three young weaving technicians have received in-depth training through UKFT’s young textile technician fund, allowing more flexibility and new capabilities at Bute Fabrics.
Bute Fabrics was originally established by the 5th Marquess of Bute in 1947 to provide employment for ex-servicemen and women returning home at the end of the Second World War.
Today the company, based on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, has a workforce of 56 people and produces a wide range of naturally-inspired yet technically-advanced fabrics, that are sold around the world.
Bute Fabrics works with contemporary interior designers, architects and furniture manufacturers, as well as product designers such as Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Barber Osgerby and Timorous Beasties. The firm weaves custom bespoke fabrics for leading contract wholesalers in the US, and exports its products to Japan, Australia and Scandinavia, as well as within the UK and Europe.
Its markets have expanded to include auditoria, airports, theatres, restaurants and the hotel and leisure sector.
Craig McKay, a sample warper aged 19; Sean Hannah, a beamer and warper aged 25; and Stephen Reynolds, a tuner aged 27 received three days of training from German machinery manufacturer Groz-Beckert at the factory on the Isle of Bute. The training was focused on the Super Vega healding machine, which allows an empty loom to be set up for the new warp before the new warp has been made, allowing for a faster turnaround.
Eddie Planck, operations director at Bute Fabrics, explained that the company had purchased a new machine but only one person could use it, which meant it wasn’t often being used.
“The task had to be done by hand and I have never had someone do it without making a mistake, somewhere down the line,” he said. “We are delighted with what we can do now and have more people who can work with that machine.”
As the company is based on the island, training is typically done in-house by existing staff passing on skills to new employees but Eddie said that having training given first-hand by an industry expert was a real benefit.
“It was great to have the right people here at our factory,” he said.
He also praised the process of applying for a grant as simple and straightforward: “Dealing with UKFT was really easy”.
UKFT secured support from The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, The Worshipful Company of Drapers and The Worshipful Company of Weavers to match-fund 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians.
The scheme has also recently supported Danny King, a former apprentice who has been working at Keighley-based specialist commission weaver Pennine Weavers for the past four years, to undertake a two-week residential course focused on the Dornier rapier weaving machine in Germany last year.
UKFT’s scheme builds on the success of other match-funded technician training programmes and is open companies with textile technicians under the age of 30 across the UK. To find out more details or to apply, please contact email@example.com.
UKFT continues to monitor all its TAP supported tradeshows (and many others) very carefully with regard to their intentions around the global COVID-19 outbreak. In the period from February-March 2020, most fashion and textile related tradeshows took place, albeit with fewer buyers than usual, especially from Asia and the US. Since then, some larger shows in Asia and Europe have been cancelled or postponed.
Looking ahead to the fashion and textile trade fairs from June onwards, most are recruiting (or have already done so) but all of them are keeping a close eye on the situation.
It is very important that business carries on with a business as usual attitude wherever possible. This means committing to the tradeshows and other activities you would normally have supported in 2020 and beyond. The shows are accepting space bookings. If space bookings are down, some may decide to reduce hall space so it would not be a sensible approach to wait and see nearer the time.
UKFT has already been in touch with Government to request an urgent confirmation of the TAP programme beyond June (which is late again this year) and to highlight the need for early decision-making and planning as well as flexibility if things have to change nearer the time. Outside the TAP programme, we are campaigning for greater flexibility and support for smaller companies which find their cashflow affected by the fallout from the outbreak.
If you are committing to a tradeshow in the next few months, it is worth asking the show organiser the following questions:
You may also wish to ask the same questions of your stand constructors and freight companies and check your insurance policies to see whether you would be covered in case of postponement or cancellation and what would need to happen. Clearly, no insurance policy can cover you if a show goes ahead but suffers from reduced turnout. You will also need to consider what would happen if key sales personnel were unable or unwilling to travel. Please plan ahead and speak to your insurance company or broker if you are in any doubt.
UKFT will keep a close eye on the situation but in the meantime we urge companies to make their grant applications (where appropriate) and confirm space at the shows without delay.
Textiles Scotland, part of UKFT, is launching two new projects to help support future talent in the fashion and textile industry, as part of the association’s mission to promote the growth of the entire supply chain across the UK.
The projects aim to promote the wealth of opportunities to young people of either working with or within a UK manufacturer.
UKFT Chairman Nigel Lugg said: “Our UK manufacturers work with some of the best known luxury companies around the world including names such as Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada but you can also find UK-made product in many high street stores. We make textiles that are used by Rolls Royce and that are up in the International Space Station, dresses for Ralph and Russo, jumpers for Chanel, jeans for Belstaff and suitcases that are used by James Bond.
“However, in order to maximise this opportunity, we all need to be encouraging a new generation of people to join our industry and to give our designers of tomorrow the knowledge of what’s on their doorstep and how working with local manufacturers can deliver huge benefits.”
The first project, called Made It, is a campaign to promote a better understanding of sourcing, production and the benefits of UK manufacturing to the next generation of buyers, designers and entrepreneurs.
Made It aims to ensure that the UK’s creative talent of the future have the right skills to work with the flourishing manufacturing industry here in the UK. Together they can continue to deliver the breadth and quality synonymous with UK fashion.
Made It will see UKFT working with five universities a year for the next three years to help ensure that students get a much better understanding of the manufacturing environment and how, when they leave university and enter the industry, that they can help our manufacturing sector thrive.
UKFT will be delivering masterclasses to second and third year students at the chosen universities and will be offering five students a year a paid, term-long placement, at a UK manufacturer.
The second is an initiative to help address one of the major barriers to growth faced by UK manufacturers – attracting new talent into this vital part of the industry.
“There are currently thousands of job vacancies in the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector,” said UKFT Chief Executive Adam Mansell. “While there are several reasons for this, the absolute key is that so many people don’t know that there is still a manufacturing industry here in the UK with a huge range of fantastic jobs available. Right now around 120,000 people are employed in the UK manufacturing industry and collectively they produce over £9 billion pounds of fashion and textiles every year.”
In order to start to change perceptions, UKFT has developed the UKFT Pop-up Factory and Careers Showcase that will run at 30 major careers events over the next three years.
More than 150,000 people will visit these events and the pop-up factory will allow young people to have a go at making things, to talk to local employers about job opportunities and to find out about the new apprenticeships that are available for the sector.
The two projects have been made possible by the generous support of the Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers Company and CapitB.
To find out more or to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wool Innovation Prize is an annual competition from The Worshipful Company of Woolmen and The Company of the Merchants of the Staple of England, aimed at individuals using wool in an innovative way in a commercially-viable application.
The winner will receive a prize of up to £10,000 together with a merit certificate to the winner, which will be presented at a City livery dinner.
The competition is open to individuals using wool in apparel, non-apparel, agricultural, horticultural, medical and industrial applications. Wool content must be in excess of 75% of the materials used.
Enter at www.woolinnovationprize.com or contact email@example.com for an application form.
Shortlisted entrants will be invited for interview.
The closing date for entries is 30 June 2020 and the winner will be announced by the end of September.
Textiles Scotland, as part of UKFT, has secured a new exclusive benefit for members: discounts on the purchase of a range of standards from the BSI Group (the British Standards Institution), covering care labelling and children’s clothing.
The discounts are available to members only and the promotion will end on 23 May. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to access your exclusive discount code or to find out more about membership.
Closing date: 5pm, Wednesday 4 March 2020
Craft Scotland is seeking experienced Scotland-based makers to deliver public-facing, paid-for workshops during the Summer Show, Craft Scotland’s annual selling exhibition to be held from Friday 7 to Sunday 30 August 2020 in Edinburgh.
The selected makers will be required to design and deliver an engaging hands-on workshop giving participants an understanding of a making technique and the opportunity to make a piece of craft. The workshops should be creative, enjoyable and suitable for those with no previous making experience.
We encourage makers of all craft disciplines to apply, however, please consider teaching a craft discipline appropriate in the space available and it must be suitable for those aged 16+.
Held on the entire second floor of White Stuff on George Street, Edinburgh, the Summer Show, now in its eighth year, attracts over 4,000 visitors. The Summer Show is open to the public from Friday 7 to Sunday 30 August 2020, with an invitation-only Private View held on Thursday 6 August 2020.
Find out more here.
A trade barrier is something that slows down, limits or prevents a UK business exporting to or investing in an overseas market. After the UK’s exit from the EU we can expect new barriers for Scotland’s exporters. Trade barriers make imported goods and services less competitive than those produced locally, e.g.:
Last year the UK Government’s trade team launched a UK-wide tool. Businesses, representative organisations and industry bodies can access the tool to log any barriers.
The Scottish Government is now part of the UK-wide team which receives information on trade barriers from businesses in the UK, focusing on those impacting Scotland.
Report a trade barrier at https://www.great.gov.uk/report-trade-barrier/
Please also let Textiles Scotland, part of UKFT, know about your problem so we can support and track your application. Contact email@example.com
Scotland’s international textile exports reached £360m in 2018, up 10.1% on the previous year, according to the latest export statistics from Scottish Government.
Of this figure, £205m was exported to the EU during 2018, accounting for 57% of total international exports.
The industry exported a further £305m to the UK in 2018, which increased 12.3% year-on-year.
Scotland’s total exports (to the rest of the UK and internationally) reached £665m in 2018, up 11.1% on the previous year.
The figures reflect the manufacture of textiles, wearing apparel and leather.
Read the latest figures here.
Textile Scotland, as part of UKFT, is developing a new export strategy to enable the Scottish fashion and textile industry to continue to grow. Find out more about how we can help you grow your export sales or our current grant-supported programme here.
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