Why we are working with EPZ Workers?
Mainly because they are among the most suppressed workers in Sri Lanka and for over decades since the first EPZ was set up in June, 1978 there were no trade unions representing them. Although some TUs were formed in several factories still do not recognized them. When the country opened her doors to open economy in the late 70’s foreign investment in export oriented industries was lured with cheap labor mainly that of nimble fingered, educated and submissive young women workers and they constitute approximately 90% of the total work force in EPZs.
The majority of them are from remote villages where their farming families find it increasingly difficult to survive in globalized economy. The educated, unemployed youth easily find employment in factories because they wanted to lessen the burden of their poverty stricken families. As all the labor laws applicable to rest of the island are relaxed in the EPZs, they are underpaid and overworked as workers as well as unprotected and sexually harassed as women, to put it in a nutshell.