Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. Further intensified by the war in Ukraine, the current crisis is a culmination of several issues that have plagued the Sri Lankan economy since 2019.
Today, the people of Sri Lanka are experiencing daily power outages, and are unable to buy essentials such as food, fuel, or medical supplies, when these are available. Severe shortages have stoked inflation as high as 70%, with political instability and wide social unrest also impacting the economy. While a new president has now taken office, economic volatility and public protests remain ongoing.
As the situation worsens, public concerns around employment and economic security increase, with many fearing job losses as the need for greater income grow with soaring prices and an overall hike in the cost of living.
A collective response
To alleviate the risks to workers and suppliers and to facilitate a collective response, ETI convened a meeting for all companies sourcing from Sri Lanka to engage with the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF). For this, ETI, Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Labor Association, and British Retail Consortium reached out to their members and partners with supply chains in the country.
JAAF officials were able to present attendees with the latest information from Sri Lanka’s Prime Ministerial Office, including special provisions being made to ensure to the apparel industry achieves exports of 6 billion dollars for the year. Businesses are said to be operating with minimal disruption, with factories maintaining buffer stocks of raw materials to ensure smooth production and small and medium factories continuing to work with their vendors. Further, all four organisations have signed a joint call to action, encouraging companies sourcing from Sri Lanka to take specific steps to support workers, suppliers and the sector at large, during this difficult period.
Read the full statement here.
Image from Wikimedia by AntonO