JAAF promotes rights of apparel workers
The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) launched the second image
building campaign for apparel sector workers last week in Hingurakgoda
and Polonnaruwa. The campaign titled Abimanee is an initiative to build
recognition and promote the rights of apparel sector workers.
Lanka’s apparel industry - highly labour intensive.
Chairman, Sub-committee, Local Image Building Campaign, Deepal Nelson
said the recognition and image of the garment sector workers have to be
developed as they contribute a major share to the economy.
The apparel sector which generates 45 per cent of the country’s
export earnings is empowered by women who comprise 90 per cent of the
employees.The industry has a direct workforce of over 300,000 people
while indirectly it employs around one million who are predominantly
from the rural areas.
“Garments is the only industry that has a majority of its employees
from the rural sector who have been employed irrespective of their
educational qualifications. Employees are provided training facilities
to develop their skills”, he said.
The apparel industry in Sri Lanka is recognised for ethical working
conditions, free from child labour, forced labour, discrimination and
absence of sweatshops which are the key principles of the Garments
Without Guilt initiative.
Nelson said the apparel industry is highly labour intensive and the
foremost work ethic in the business is to ensure that employees are
JAAF in collaboration with the Ministry of Textile Industry has
launched programs in several districts to empower women and educate
people in villages on the importance of the industry and employment
opportunities for rural youth.
The pilot image building program was launched in Kekirawa last month
with the participation of over 500 people from villages who were exposed
to the importance of the industry.
Nelson said whether Sri Lanka will be given an extension of the GSP
Plus concessions has been stressed too much.The GSP Plus should not be
an issue when the apparel industry is known for observing ethical
standards and complying with international regulations.
“The stakeholders of the industry have taken steps to build better
lives for workers and their families and have created opportunities for
education and personal growth. By creating an equitable society the
industry is helping the business to compete with integrity and respect,”
The apparel industry which is the largest single employer in the
country is expected to grow from US$ 3 billion to around US$ 5 billion
The United Nations estimates that women account for two-thirds of the
world’s work yet earn only 5 per cent of the income and own less than 1
per cent of the property.