Thousands of workers left jobless

6,000 workers were left jobless after three factories in Sri Lanka and two in Pakistan were closed. The sole owner of the five factories disappeared with all of the company’s assets. In March 2013 the Clean Clothes Campaign reached out to several European buyers.

In October 2012, the Z.M. Vision Ltd factory in Kiriella, Sri Lanka, closed its doors, leaving around 300 workers without jobs or income. Subsequently, in February 2013, the Z.M. Vertiko Ltd factory in Colombo,  Sri Lanka, was also closed down, leaving another 400 workers without a job. This same process took place at another factory in Sri Lanka and two in Pakistan, all of which had the same owner.
By the end of January 2013, a total of 6,000 workers had been left jobless.

The trade union representing the Sri Lankan workers (Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union, or FTZ&GSEU), and the Pakistani National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF), worked together with the Clean Clothes Campaign to support the workers in gaining payment of the compensation and back wages they are owed.

The factories manufactured garment products for international brands like Tom Tailor, H&M, Lahalla, Orchestra, ST-magor, Inditex (Zara), C&A and several other high street brands. The Clean Clothes Campaign contacted the brands who had allegedly been buying from the factories. Only a few of these brands confirmed their relationship with one of the factories and were willing look into the problem, but most brands stated that their business relationships with the different factories had ended before 2012.

At the time of writing one of the Sri Lankan factories has found a new owner and is back in operation. Some of the other workers in Sri Lanka received compensation, but most of them are yet to be compensated for their abrupt loss of income.


See also:

Sunday Times: Pakistani investor shuts apparel factories