More than 700 clothing workers are to lose their jobs following announcements on the downsizing and closure of two manufacturers last week.

Tailored garment maker Bortex Group is axing almost half its employees under plans to wind up its remaining production in Malta by mid-September while VF Malta, a division of VF Corp, is closing down its plant by the end of August and dismissing 593 workers.

Bortex will be laying off 113 workers, but says it will continue to use Malta as its operating base, employing 129 people in the covering design, product development, marketing, sales and administration departments.

It has blamed the decision on struggling to compete with cheaper production costs in other countries and the loss of a major customer earlier this year.

VF, whose brands include Lee, Wrangler, Nautica and The North Face, was the largest textile company on the island, but now plans to relocate its Maltese business to lower cost locations. The plant laid off about 240 employees three years ago.

Two more firms, Denim Services Ltd and Denim Sportswear Ltd, have already ceased production, shedding 850 workers.