Year-round bonanza for garment workers

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 02:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 19,000 employees get privileged benefits in Phase One of program
  • SME garment sector to join too
There are approximately 350,000 of them, employed in various capacities in 285 factories scattered all over the country. Their contribution to the economy could be unhesitatingly described as vital. Females who constitute nearly 85% of the workforce, mostly machine operators form the backbone of this industry’s production line. These girls join the “garment” job at very tender age (18+). That’s the easiest. With very little demand for educational records and the factories having more than available job capacity, finding a job in this industry is a cake walk. Most of them who join this industry are focused on just one thing, that is to feeding and providing care for their cash-strapped families. In an apt move, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with the support of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) has come up with a novel welfare program that touches the lives of these garment workers and their families giving them the much needed monitory relief and recognition for their services to this industry. Ransalu Pranaama Privilege On 1 January this year, the JAAF introduce a unique worker welfare program as a pilot project in the districts of Kurunegala and Kandy, to be followed by an island-wide reach. Factories selected in these districts were Omega Lines, Emjay International, Penguin Leisurewear, Benji, Alpha Apparels, Sirio and Eskimo Apparels. The Privilege Card entitles card holders year-round discounts on groceries, food items, clothing, home appliances, electrical goods, footwear, household items, personal care products, health services, jewellery, insurances and banking facilities, telecommunication services and many more. Among the long list of merchants are: Abans, Cargills, DSI, Singer, Lanka Hospitals, Swarnamahal, Laugfs Gas, Litro gas, STC(Gen) Corporation, No-Limit, Hameedia, CIB, Thilakawardena Textiles, Glitz, AF Raymonds, Rainco, Lumala, Kingsbury Hotel, Anton Group, Mt. Lavinia Hotel, Ceylon Hotels Corporation, 7 Stories Ranjanas, Sampath Bank, Dreamron, Unilever, Metropolitan, Lionco, Siddhalepa, Delmege, My, Janashakthi, Ceylinco Insurance, ewis, ICL marketing, Hayleys Consumer subsidiaries, AIG Insurance, Airtel and SLT. The program which was conceptualised by Channel17 CEO Jumar Preena was presented to the Industries Minister Rishad Bathiudeen who gave the green light for implementation. Thereafter it was put before the JAAF Executive Committee which approved the monitoring body’s endorsement of the program Mobitel picked as preferred network Mobitel, the national mobile telecommunications provider, was picked as the preferred network for the launch of this Privilege Card on the state-of-the-art NFC platform which comes with great features for a loyalty program of this magnitude. As its contribution towards the welfare program Mobitel will link most of the participating merchants with special NFC enabled Point of Sale readers. This technology which is the advanced version of loyalty programs in the world gives ease of access for any information with regards to transaction data and gets updated on the card as well as at the back end, as the transaction happens at the merchant outlet. Mobitel will also equip the factories with web based portals for updating employee status at any given time in order to activate or deactivate a member’s card. Lake House Printers and Publishers on board Channel 17 has also appointed Lake House Printers and Publishers – the pioneers in electronic card supply to the market – to source the high-tech NFC Cards from their reputed overseas suppliers. Appointment of Lake House Printers and Publishers is a great strength to this program, as it is a big-time player in the market with a great reputation and experience in this field, Jumar pointed out. Single largest industrial employer The apparel sector is the single largest industrial employer in the country today and this sector is run by a highly influential and dynamic team of well-connected businessmen and entrepreneurs with decades of hands-on experience, unlike their counterparts in the other industrial exports sectors. They have withstood all sorts of onslaughts from the global as well as local financial calamities and market downturns. They have also won the admiration of the Executive and the Government for managing and running the industry in a fitting manner bringing credit to the country in terms of foreign exchange and image through their international iconic label ‘Made in Sri Lanka’.