‘Golden Needle’ to stitch shinier reputation for apparel

Wednesday, 5 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Industry body launches new awareness campaign to brush up image, highlights contributions to economy and establishes centralised worker location facility targeting rural youth  

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Apparel is attempting to stitch a brighter reputation with a new awareness campaign that will also centralise crucial employee information and assist the absorption of labour better.

The ‘Golden Needle’ campaign was launched recently and will continue during 2011 to create awareness of the service done for the country by the industry.

A joint initiative by the Commerce and Industries Ministry under Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF), the campaign is also striving to erase the negative impact created by the loss of GSP+.

“During the better part of this year there was a lot of negative impact created through the loss of GSP+ and other issues. However, we want to make it clear to everyone of the survival and strength of the industry and so decided to launch this new campaign,” JAAF Secretary General Rohan Masakorala told Daily FT, adding that he could not disclose the investment on this venture.

The newspaper advertisements detail the contribution that is made to the Lankan economy, the world recognised brands that source their products from Sri Lanka, employment generation, Garments without Guilt programme and the opportunity for workers to remain with their families.

“We are keen to improve the apparel image throughout the country, especially in rural areas where the bulk of our workers are sourced from,” he added.

JAAF has also placed an address as part of the advertisement that will build a central information source for people who wish to join the industry. Masakorala noted that there was no shortage of labour outside of the export processing zones at the moment, but fresh talent was always welcome.

“Since we have factories spread around the country, anyone who wishes to work can send their application to one location and we will find the most appropriate placement for them. Our goal is to encourage people to gain employment locally rather than go abroad as housemaids. They will be provided with better facilities, including transport and medical facilities if they become employed in the apparel industry.”