FTZMA is being a constituent body of the National labour Advisory Council (NLAC), Hon Secretary of FTZMA has attended this meeting conducted by the minister of labour Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva. Trade Union representatives and the employer representatives including FTZMA, JAAF and EFC took part to review the previous arrangement arrived at by and between the parties i.e. the state, some of the TUs and some of the Employer collectives.
The Trade Union representatives, Anton Marcus and CMU General Secretary have expressed their dissatisfaction on some of the employers conduct in violation of the said arrangements as according to them some workmen were terminated through VRS schemes etc. plus the anomalies in paying the salaries by certain sectors. CMU Secretary informed that while upholding the original arrangement, the general assembly of their union has decided to withdraw from it.
Apparel sector employers have expressed that they are still running at a capacity of around 33% less than the pre-pandemic period. Therefore they have requested an extension of the original arrangement to maintain the staff without discontinuation of employment. Minister in response stated that it is acceptable to maintain this arrangement further in case of the hospitality sector for obvious reasons but insisted that the apparel sector submit data and statistics to determine the request.
FTZMA representative informed that the enterprises inside the BOI Zones are running as usual but some are with fewer orders however none of the factories has closed down operation or retrenched their employees illegally. Therefore, though we acknowledge the arrangement it has is no tangible bearing on their operations since they are paying salaries as usual and all the employees are required to report for work.
Minister, in conclusion, said that he will determine on the requests of certain sectors specifically the Apparel sector at a sooner date once the data is received and processed.