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Trade union leaders, warn Govt to protect RMG workers
28
Jun '10
Trade union leaders have urged the government to ensure that, garment sector workers don't get affected by the fall out of the GSP+ policy.

According to them, factory owners might take advantage of the situation by reducing the incentives and other employee-related benefits, so as to maintain their income margins.

As of now, the European Union (EU) has extended the GSP+ trade discounts to Sri Lanka, by additional six months. This extension is on the basis of government's action, taken as yet, ensuring continuation of the welfare and development processes for the people of North and East.

As per the earlier agreement, the GSP+ trade concession, which covers 3,200 export goods from Sri Lanka, including garments, was to come to an end on August 15, 2010. However, with the new extension, Sri Lanka can avail of the benefits till February 2011.

But, as per Palitha Athukorale, President, Sri Lanka Progressive Union, with or without the GSP+ trade concessions, the factory owners will continue to function and in order to sustain their profit margins, they will opt for cost-cuts on workforce.

Athukorale further informed that, it was the only way for the factory owners to remain in the business and enjoy healthy benefits. He infact, has also warned the officials working in harmony with the garment industry, to be on the go and keep an observant eye on the developments.

Luckily, huge orders for delivery will extend comfortably in to summer next year, and industry owners will therefore, be in business till then, averred Athukorale.

Workers are definitely going to get taxed by the owners, so that they can ensure their profit margins and blame it on the GSP+ issue. About 40 apparel firms have shut during the last 12 – 14 months and approximately 40,000 apparel labourers are said to be jobless. Once the GSP+ issue starts creeping in to the industry, the aforesaid numbers are likely to double, informed Athukorale.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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