Stranded Sri Lankan factory workers return from Jordan
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Amman yesterday said that it had succeeded in repatriating 59 Sri Lankan employees who were employed at two apparel factories in Jordan.
“In coordination with Jordanian authorities, the Embassy yesterday repatriated the first batch of 59 Sri Lankan employees out of 221 who were employed at two apparel factories with their salary dues, social security benefits and other entitlements,” the Embassy statement said.
The Mission’s efforts will continue to repatriate the rest of the Sri Lankan employees as early as possible in consultation with the Jordanian authorities. The welfare of the remaining Sri Lankan workers will be ensured until their repatriation, the statement said.
The 221 Sri Lankans working in the apparel factories in Jordan were stranded for several months after the factories’ owners absconded.
Other than Sri Lankans, there were Bangladeshi, Indian and Nepali employees at this factory.
The factory workers had become destitute without wages, food and drink and electricity as the owners had absconded.
A US buyer who bought jackets and t-shirts from this factory had provided the stranded workers the necessary facilities and helped them until they left for their home country.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jordan had intervened and worked together with the Jordanian authorities to assist the Sri Lankan factory workers to return home.
The Sri Lankan employees were provided with air tickets to return to Sri Lanka, arrears of salary, vacation pay, social security contributions as well as reduction of fines payable by Sri Lankans who overstayed in the country without a visa.
Sunethra Pathmini, a resident of Beliatta, Matara, who was a worker at this factory said: “Suddenly the owner of our factory disappeared without informing us. We could not find where he had gone. He did not answer his phone. We did not get our salaries for about nine months. Our people went on strike. They came to the streets and protested.”
Ajith Pushpakumara of Panadura who was among this group said: “We didn’t have food for about a year. There was no water. At this time, the country was very cold. We faced many difficulties.”
He added that it was a US buyer who helped them by providing them with food, water and electricity.
Among the Sri Lankans who arrived yesterday were 61 Sri Lankan migrant workers from Kuwait who reached Sri Lanka yesterday (9) at 02.15 am by Jazeera Airways flight J9553 and another five from Doha who arrived at 02.55 am yesterday (9) by Qatar Airways flight QR662 at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
In addition, 17 Sri Lankan migrant workers who had been kept at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Dubai arrived at 05.00 am yesterday (9) on SriLankan Airlines flight UL226.
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