50,000 apparel workers lose jobs
The growing incidence of forcing employees out of their jobs in the apparel sector has resulted in about 50,000 workers with no jobs today amidst a severe economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
Free Trade Zone General Employees Union Secretary General Anton Marcus said that about 50,000 workers are without jobs today as factories are asking workers to move to other locations to report to work.
The trade union leader also explained that at the last National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meeting it was agreed to allow a 5-day work week for the rest of the year on the condition that no one can be employed on Saturday.
However, now the apparel industry wants to obtain permission for employees to be provided work on Saturday.
On February 28 the Labour Commissioner had called for a meeting with five of the 14 trade unions and requested them for an agreement on working on Saturday. The trade unions are said to be in discussion on this issue and will be submitting their response shortly.
Mr. Marcus also said that factories are said to close down but not doing so officially as a result of which workers are left without any job and without any compensation either.
He pointed out that some big suppliers are said to have provided orders to some of the larger companies.
Orders are coming back but now the companies will operate with a reduced workforce, he noted adding that as a result of this workers will be asked to continue to work and inspite of the increased workload they will continue to operate for fear of losing their jobs.
Manufacturers Association Secretary Dhammika Fernando told the Business Times that indirectly there is a cut down on workers in factories particularly in the apparel and some in the non-apparel industries.
A few companies are said to have even downsized their operations while workplaces with about 400-500 workers are working four days a week.
Mr. Fernando also noted that while this situation is continuing on the flip side they have also found that some companies are receiving orders and the results of these orders can be seen at the end of this quota.
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