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Friday, October 7, 2022

Apparel sector takes steps to safeguard employees – The Morning

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  • Several manufacturers providing financial and non-financial support

In an effort to reduce the burden of the ongoing economic crisis and help workers cope with the rising cost of living, apparel manufacturers have taken measures to provide both financial and non-financial support to their workers. 

“We are grappling with tough and unprecedented times,” noted Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Yohan Lawrence. 

The apparel industry is Sri Lanka’s largest export earner and accounts for 40% of the country’s total exports.

“Our workers keep the wheels of our industry turning, and their welfare is our top priority. We are encouraging factories to implement welfare measures that best suit the requirements of their workers and are aware that many have already done so. As of now, around 80% of apparel manufacturers have made cost of living adjustments to salaries over and above the annual increments. In some instances, these represent increases of 25% from 2021.”

Lawrence also noted that some factories have even initiated welfare schemes for the distribution of dry rations in support of employees across the plants, including outsourced services like janitorial, canteen, and security staff. Certain factories also provide additional meals for employees to take home so they can help feed their families as well. 

Other benefits offered to employees, particularly in the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, include the provision of school books for children, free medical facilities, and special food packages for pregnant mothers.   

“The livelihoods of our workers are our top priority, and we will take the necessary steps to ensure that the disruption of their lives during this difficult period is minimised,” Lawrence iterated. 

The Joint Apparel Association Forum is the apex body that guides Sri Lanka apparel towards its ultimate goal of being the world’s number one apparel-sourcing destination. JAAF represents five associations that cover supply chain partners, the export-oriented apparel manufacturers, buying offices, and representatives of international brands in Sri Lanka.

 

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