As COVID-19 surges, Sri Lankan clothing employees guidance International Workers Inquest

Clothing staff in the Katunayake Absolutely free Trade Zone (KFTZ), near Sri Lanka’s worldwide airport,…

Clothing staff in the Katunayake Absolutely free Trade Zone (KFTZ), near Sri Lanka’s worldwide airport, are facing a dire circumstance as COVID-19 proceeds to infect workforce in the zone.

Superior unemployment and worsening economic difficulties thrust hundreds of young males and women from remote rural districts every single calendar year into reduced-compensated employment in factories this kind of as Wise Shirts, Star Clothes, Up coming Manufacturing, MAS Holdings and Brandix that provide clothing to giant international stores.

Up coming Garment staff desire their bonuses, December 2020 [Photo: WSWS Media]

KFTZ personnel have faced critical hardship because the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Subsequent a transient lockdown March 2020, the government reopened the overall economy in response to the demands of attire manufacturing facility entrepreneurs who then imposed higher production targets even as the fatal disease unfold by means of the island.

In late October 2020, 567 of Brandix’s 1,394 workforce at its Minuwangoda garment plant in the vicinity of Katunayake examined constructive for the virus. It was later on revealed that manufacturing facility administration experienced compelled these staff members to hold doing work even when they had COVID signs.

Hundreds of personnel have been subsequently found to be contaminated with the lethal virus at clothing factories throughout the country. While some crops were being briefly closed many employees have been not paid out wages or only obtained 50 percent of their typical fork out.

President Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s income-strapped authorities is really dependent on exports, specifically garments, to generate international trade. The clothing business employs nearly 15 per cent of the countrywide labor drive, straight or indirectly, in accordance to the Joint Clothing Affiliation Forum. These staff contribute about 7 p.c of the country’s gross domestic item. A single current report estimates that the KFTZ is now employing about 350,000 workers.

FTZ Makers Association Secretary Dhammika Fernando informed past weekend’s Sunday Instances that absenteeism in the zone was commonly 5 per cent but that this had amplified below the impact of rising COVID-19 infections.

The Rajapakse federal government has declared that Sri Lankans need to “live with the virus” as the “new ordinary.” In line with major enterprise profit calls for, if several staff are found to be contaminated, a manufacturing facility does not near. Management just shuts down the part of the plant the place there had been infections.