The grievances were many, but not new, among workers who went strike at Brandix India Apparel City this week: they want more pay, less harassment and at least a sliver of time to live their lives.
Workers at the India subsidiary of Brandix, one of Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporters, which recently won “Most Valuable Export Brand” in a 2016 ranking of the country’s leading brands, are asking for double their current pay. They want 10,000 rupees ($150) a month.
Production came to a standstill Monday when workers sat outside the factory located a little more than 30 miles from the port city of Visakhapatnam, demanding to be heard, The Hindu reported. More than pleading for better pay, employees were accusing Brandix India of harassment and not allowing them leave from work.
The district’s collector, N. Yuvaraj, a magistrate of sorts in charge of revenue collection in a district, promised the workers action on their demands but asked that they return to work and give the company and the district time to resolve the issues.
Yuvaraj also reportedly instructed factory management to identify any officers who were harassing the overwhelmingly female workforce and promised to send self-help group members to interact with them and check in on the working conditions.
As district general secretary S. Ramesh pointed out, an agreement issued in 2011 recommends workers’ monthly salaries fall in the 8,400 rupee ($126) range, and that “various reasons” are to blame for the rate falling to 5,000, according to The Hindu.
Management at Brandix India said they would give workers a response to their demands by Apr. 30.