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Factories re-open in FTZs

3 years ago

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o 40% of factories re-opened o Many employees laid off, says TUs By Skandha Gunasekara Around 40% of the factories in free trade zones (FTZs) have recommended operations, said trade unions (TUs) affiliated to the FTZs. The TUs also alleged that FTZs and other factory employees are being laid off in staggering numbers. Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) President Wasantha Samarasinghe told The Morning that companies were sacking workers due to the Covid-19 situation. “There are hardly any workers left in the factories. They are being sacked. Some companies have laid off 50% of their staff claiming that there are no orders for their products,” he said, adding that a factory in Ja-Ela has let off its entire staff without paying salaries. He added that all casual contract workers had been terminated from the employment. Furthermore, Samarasinghe said that now a programme of pay cuts is to be implemented. “Now there is a move to carry out pay cuts. Some companies are even cutting the basic salaries. This is happening islandwide and not only at the Free Trade Zone.” He said that unions have urged the Government to intervene to protect the workers, adding: “We have proposed that they pay at least the basic salary of workers for a month or two till the factories can find other markets to sell their products.” Samarasinghe further said that around 40% factories were operating in the Katunayake and Biyagama FTZs. “A further 30% have started operations partially while the remaining 30% are preparing to begin operations,” he noted. The Board of Investment (BOI) meanwhile said that they would provide a response on the matter today (24). With regard to safety measures, the BOI said that guidelines given by health services must be followed. “All factories must comply and follow safety measures and the guidelines set out by the health services on providing safety equipment,” BOI sources said.

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