The Dabindu Collective says that the budget presented by the government for the year 2022 will not provide relief to working people in all sectors, including the Free Trade Zone. The government has failed to show anything other than the failure of management as people in the workplace are facing a number of serious crises in the face of the rising cost of living and the Covid 19 epidemic. Accordingly, no salary increase or other basic relief has been provided in this budget. Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves are currently declining and facing severe economic hardship. At present, daily necessities are maintained on dollar income from exports of products in the free trade zone, including in the garment industry. In such an environment, the Dabindu Collective hopes that the government will intervene to provide sustainable relief to the working class in the free trade zone that contributes to these gains.
Garment export earnings in 2021 are expected to increase by about $ 150 million compared to 2020. That is due to the commitment of nearly 300,000 FTZ workers. In the midst of the epidemic, these workers were not being rewarded with relief, but with wage cuts and increased working hours.
Requests for relief were requested but not listened to
There was a request to increase, the minimum wage for private-sector employees in Sri Lanka from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 26,000, but no action has been taken. The budget relief allowance for garment workers is Rs. 3,500. Although requests were made to increase it to Rs. 5,000, that request was not granted. The government has never been interested in considering Covid’s continued calls for improved quarantine facilities, as well as calls for the promotion of free trade zone infrastructure. Therefore, the Da Bindu Collective emphasizes that this budget has been forgotten by the working people.