Sri Lanka - Threats and union busting

The management of Mainettech Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of the world’s largest producer of fashion hangers, has consistently refused to recognise the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) as a collective bargaining party. The company argued that FTZ & GSEU did not exceed the mandatory 40 per cent of workers necessary to be recognised as a collective bargaining agent. Yet, according to FTZ & GSEU, its members account for 60 per cent of the manual workers on permanent contracts at Mainettech Lanka.
In February 2018, Mainettech suspended the union’s branch organiser, vice president and branch secretary for organising union meetings during working hours and disrupting production. However, according to the union, such meetings did not take place. After an internal inquiry, the branch organiser, Mr. G.G. Mahinda, was dismissed in May 2018. The union also reported that some members have been intimidated by the management. Afraid of losing their jobs, some members did renounce their union membership.
Finally, in June 2018, Mainettech threatened the union president with disciplinary action on spurious charges that he strongly contested. Under mounting pressure, he disbanded the union, and the charges were dropped.

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