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6 Apr 2020

Sunimalee Dias, The Sunday Times

Sri Lanka: up to 30% of garment workers set to lose jobs as brands cancel orders amidst COVID-19 outbreak

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“Apparel industry to lay off 30% workforce”, 05 April 2020

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is likely to lay off at least 30 per cent of its workers … even as they receive global orders to manufacture face masks and surgical gowns.

[Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association Chairman Rehan Lakhany] … noted that some factories had decided to pay some salaries … [at] 70 per cent of the workers’ dues as they face mounting issues with costs soaring to millions of dollars in cancellations and retail stores in the European Union and the US shutting down.

Mr. Lakhany explained that in spite of discussions with the Presidential Task Force and the Labour Minister they as factories would be unable to obtain a loan from the government and pay wages as there is no output and no production going on at the factories.

Mr. Lakhany pointed out that the local apparel industry is too big to manufacture protective medical equipment in all its factories.