The need to protect workers and ensure job security during COVID-19 was highlighted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 30 June at Temple Trees during a discussion on issues faced by the Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) and the Sri Lanka Retailers Association (SLRA).
The PM called on the business community to protect their employees without dismissing them. Representatives of these unions said it was difficult to keep employees while maintaining businesses and added that they had no choice but to lay off some of their labour.
Delegates spoke on issues such as obtaining bank loan concessions, resolving issues in opening letters of credit, vaccinating garment workers, obtaining permission to open readymade garment shops and issues surrounding the Employees Provident Fund and Employers Trust Fund.
Lalantha Wathudura, President of SLABA presented the Prime Minister with the launch of a separate Ministry for Batik, handloom fabrics and local garment manufacturing. The delegation said their businesses had been paralysed for nearly 24 months due to the Easter Sunday terror attack and the COVID19 pandemic and requested the Prime Minister to provide immediate relief through the Finance Ministry to maintain business and trade.
(Source: Ceylon Today)