Several factory hands, mainly females have quit their jobs inside the Free Trade Zones (FTZs) at Katunayake and Biyagama following the recent protests that killed one person and injured hundreds of others, trade unionists claimed yesterday.
They said most of those who have quit were new hands who had taken up employment inside the zones at the beginning of this year, or even later and nearly 90 per cent or more were young females. “It appears that their families and parents would have advised them against returning to the Zones owing to the recent clashes and the tension in the area among other uncertainties,” Anton Marcus with the Free Trade Zone Workers Union (FTZWU) told the Sunday Times.
He added detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had also made several visits to the Zones where they talked to factory management and others regarding the protests.
“The authorities intend to blame the protests and demonstrations on certain political sections, but this is not true. As stated earlier, by the Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA), it was purely a workers’ uprising and it will stay that way,” he further added.
Meanwhile, except for three factories that were damaged during the police rush to quell the protests inside the Zones the rest have re-opened and most of the workers have returned to their respective jobs, Mr. Marcus said.
In a related development the authorities are planning to double the in house security manned by the Board of Investment inside the Zones, a senior official said.
“There are discussions and plans towards this end, but the security factor is getting the fullest priority,” Upali Sirigampola-BOI Director Katunayake Zone told the Sunday Times.
He added that calm had returned to the area and the security forces were doing a good job in maintaining the peace.