Voicing concern:Workers of Brandix India Apparel City squat at the main gate after launching a strike at Atchutapuram near Visakhapatnam on Monday —Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam (The Hindu)

Workers at Brandix India, a subsidiary of one of Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporters, Brandix Lanka, are on strike at the Brandix apparel park at Atchyuthapuram in Visakhapatnam District in India, demanding higher wages and better working conditions, foreign media reports said.

Hundreds of workers at the Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) staged a protest at the Atchuthapuram Special Economic Zone (SEZ), demanding a hike in wages beginning from Saturday (16), reports. The striking workers may call off the agitation and resume duty by Monday, according to a press release issued by the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone authorities.

Around 7,000 workers of BIAC demanded that the company raises the wages to Indian Rs 10,000 per month, failing which they threatened to strike work, Times of India noted.

Meanwhile, the Indian government is finding it difficult to call for negotiations as there is no trade union. As the BIAC is an SEZ, trade union activity is prohibited there, The Hindu Newspaper pointed out.

The BIAC, which projects itself as a global hub for end-to-end apparel solutions with seamless connectivity, has an annual turnover of Indian Rs.1,500 crore. It has attracted investors like Quantum Clothing, Ocean India, Seeds Intimate Apparels, Pioneer Elastics, Vardhman, and Ribest Ribbons and Bows.
As of now, it has recruited 19,000 persons, including trainees from poor rural families.

Meanwhile, a holding statement issued by BIAC said, “Brandix India Apparel City wishes to state that the current employee flash strike is illegal and without any prior notice. We are a law-abiding SEZ and the employees have neither submitted any demand nor given us any notice period to consider their demand. A flash strike of this nature is condemnable.”