JAAF welcomes the Ethical Trading Initiative’s (ETI) and American Apparel and Footwear Association’s (AAFA) call to action in response to Sri Lanka’s economic meltdown

● ETI and AAFA have extended their support to the apparel industry.
● JAAF welcomes this move as it complements and enhances worker welfare
measures already taken by the industry.
● Demonstrates international brands commitment to Sri Lanka as a long term
sustainable partner
Sri Lanka struggles under the weight of the ongoing economic crisis with
power outages, shortages and price increases of essentials, the Joint Apparel Association
Forum welcomes the call to action by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the American
Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) to support the apparel sector’s efforts towards
ensuring worker welfare.
ETI has commenced a collective response by engaging with economists, industry associations,
worker representatives, and member companies operating in Sri Lanka to better understand the
implications of the ongoing crisis on workers, suppliers, and the industry at large. Distribution of
dry rations, medicines, groceries, and cooked food has been taken as an initial step in support.
Additionally, AAFA has pledged a commitment to work with suppliers ensuring timely payments
and adherence to the law.
The livelihoods and welfare of workers remain a top priority of the industry. JAAF welcomes this
collective support as it will enhance and compliment worker welfare measures already taken by
the industry during these unprecedented times. Welfare schemes by some factories have been
in operation for the distribution of dry rations, with certain factories providing additional meals to
employees to take home to feed their families. Provision of schoolbooks for children, free
medical facilities, and special food packages for pregnant women have also been made
available for employees in the SME sector.
As reiterated by the Secretary General of JAAF Yohan Lawrence, “Factories are encouraged to
implement welfare measures to best suit the requirements of their workers. As of June 2022,
around 80% of apparel manufacturers have made cost of living adjustments to salaries over and
above the annual increments. In some instances, these represent increases of 25% from 2021.”
This initiative by representatives of the international brands sourcing from Sri Lanka shows the
deep relationship that brands have with their supplier partners in Sri Lanka built over a number
of years.
JAAF commends the resilience of companies to continue operations and production under such
challenging times, while ensuring the welfare of workers. Further, JAAF appreciates the support
extended by the ETI and AAFA and renders full backing for their efforts in assisting the industry.
The public call to action by ETI and AAFA can be accessed here.

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