Sri Lanka and the Free Trade Zones

… and workers
Sri Lanka is a signatory to ILO Conventions No. 87 & 98 on FOA and the right to organise and collectively bargain. However, because of the non-implementation of labour laws and fundamental rights, emergency regulations, violence and intimidation of workers, these rights are routinely repressed. Trade unions are often not recognised by employers and are frequently smashed to deter further organising taking place.

The workers make an average of 40 USD a month while the working and living conditions are dreadful. Anton Marcos, one of the founders of the Free Trade Zones Workers Union describes the working conditions as follows:

“The major issue is the target system. The workers have to perform this target within a limited time. And sometimes if they do not meet this target they will be fined. Sometimes they deduct form the workers’ wages and sometimes the workers have to keep working without pay until they meet the target, but if the workers achieve these targets they will be raised.”

And a quick calculation tells us something about the huge profits. Anton Marcos:

“The monthly salary is 40 USD, one pair of trousers sells in the U.S. for 59 USD, and one factory line will produce more than a hundred dozens of trousers in one day. So that means that in one day of production they can pay one month’s salary for all of their workers. All of the other production days are profit for the employer.”


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Introduction to ExChains

What is ExChains about?

Who is involved in ExChains?

What have we done?

What can you do?

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