German textile industry association BTE has predicted that 20,000 jobs within Germany's textile retail sector will be axed in 2004.

The number of German textile companies is forecast to drop by approximately 2,500 in 2004.

BTE said the predicted job loss, which would amount to 5.0 per cent of total jobs in the sector, was based on plummeting prices, sales decreases and consumer unwillingness to spend money on goods.

In 2003, German textile companies employed a total of 389,000 part-time and full-time workers.

In October this year, approximately 150,000 workers in west Germany's textile and clothing industry  launched strikes against their employers in a plea to have their wages negotiated. Trade unions say that a 3.5 per cent wage increase is necessary.