Chinese immigrant workers, who claim to have been axed from US apparel maker Nova Knits Inc last month without warning, have been protesting against the company's alleged outsourcing of jobs to China.

The workers staged a protest march in San Francisco - where Nova is based - yesterday, accusing the company of laying them off last month with no forewarning,  severance pay or benefits.

The workers - the majority of whom are middle-aged Chinese women - claim that Nova has switched labour to China, where costs and wages are considerable cheaper.

China's garments and textiles exports have recently been landed with US safeguard quotas after American manufacturers protested against the rise in Chinese trade since global quotas expired at the start of 2005.