our Own production
Ukrainian subsidiary is at the heart of Fristads’ production
Since 2001 we have our own workwear production in Ukraine. With new management at the helm, the Stritex factory has both seen increased production efficiency and remarkable growth. Now the factory also aims to be in the forefront when it comes to environmental responsibility.
The Stritex factory is in Stryi in western Ukraine and has been running for over 70 years, from the beginning producing school uniforms for the Soviet Union. For the last 20 years the factory has been producing workwear – specialising in more advanced garments such as flame-retardant clothing.
In 2021 the production was tripled – a result of many different factors such as increasing efficiency in the production flow, partnering with subcontractors and hiring 50-60 new employees. But it was also a result of Covid-19 leading to factories around the world shutting down.
Employee retention is important to Stritex, which historically has lost workers to Poland, where salaries are generally higher. Pay raises, along with the pandemic making it harder for Ukrainians to cross the border, have now made it more attractive for workers to stay with Stritex.
Ways in which stritex is reducing their environmental impact
The factory has an upgraded ventilation system, saving energy and cleaning and disinfecting the air inside.
Cutting down on transports
By moving some key functions, like Stritex’ marker maker office, technical support team and purchasing to the factory in Stryi to get them closer to production, the number of transports has decreased..
All waste is separated and almost everything is recycled – paper, plastic and fabric. Small fabric parts are reused as insulation and filling for pillows and sofas. All the fabrics and trims are sourced from Riga and other parts of Europe and the factory generates very little waste. In 2022, 1,500 kg of fabric scraps were repurposed for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
New sewing machines
In 2021, Stritex started to replace the engines on its sewing machines with quieter, more energy efficient models, a project that will continue during 2022.
LED lighting and solar panels
The next project on the list is to exchange all lights to LED and install rooftop solar panels to further lower the energy consumption of the factory.
Wartime production at stritex
On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, with disastrous consequences. While the war has affected the mental health of many employees, it has also increased the sense of togetherness and urgency of working towards a common goal: victory. From the management to every single worker, the commitment has been unwavering. By going to work, receiving a salary, and paying taxes – which in turn fund the army – our Ukrainian colleagues feel like they are making an important contribution to the defense of their country.
The war has not changed Fristads’ long-term commitment to remain in Ukraine and expand the production, since having a strong hub in Eastern Europe is strategically important to us. Should Stritex’ management team at some point decide that it is too dangerous to keep the factory open, a contingency plan developed by Fristads’ global task force will go into effect. Keeping the employees and their families safe is, and will always be, the first priority.
For Fristads, the role of wartime employer has necessitated a new level of social and corporate responsibility. In 2022, Stritex provided extra support to the employees due to the war:
- Monthly war/inflation supplement to all employees from May to December.
- Counseling and financial assistance to employees whose close family members were injured in the war.
- Financial assistance to workers mobilised for the war.
- Regular morale boosting activities and surprises for the employees.
- Holiday bonuses paid as stipulated by the collective agreement.
- 15 employees, mainly supervisors and line leaders, regularly received English language training.
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