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Bata loses Rs 60 million turnover due to strike - Managing Director

by Ramani Kangaraarachchi

The Bata Shoe Company has lost Rs 60 million in terms of turnover since June this year due to the illegal strike action staged by the trade union. If this continues, the Company will have to reconsider its business operations in Sri Lanka, Kym Bradely, Managing Director Bata Shoe Company told a press conference at the Hotel Galadari, yesterday.

Bradely said that a stock of shoes sufficient for 8-10 weeks is blocked inside the stores and the company has done everything possible within the Sri Lankan legal system to have access to their warehouses to move the stock to the retail outlets but failed notwithstanding the orders of the District Court and Magistrate's Court.

The police also have failed to take effective steps to comply with the orders or to provide protection for the non striking employees of Bata to enter the premises. As a result the Bata Company has come to the conclusion that the law enforcement authorities are helpless to protect the company from the unlawful and illegal acts, he said. As the leaders of the Union are unwilling to compromise on anything the result would be the loss of a considerable number of jobs and also the loss of the means of their dependants, he said.

Bradely pointed out that Bata, a multinational Company has survived in Sri Lanka for 53 years and has been the highest wage payer in the footwear industry and provides the best facilities to its employees. At a time when numerous countries are seeking to attract foreign capital this type of affairs will not help to promote investments in Sri Lanka, he said.

Jeewan Jayatilake, the Company lawyer said that the Company has made every effort to settle this dispute on a reasonable basis but the union has refused to accept the proposal made by the Commissioner of Labour although it was accepted by the Company.

He said that the Company has offered a further package which would cost Rs 10 million more over the package already given to 146 workers who resigned under the voluntary retirement scheme.

Marketing Manager I. Sameem said that on normal days the company produces 10,000 pairs of shoes a day apart from the shoes worth Rs. 100 million blocked in the stores. Despite all these problems the company is trying to give the best to their customers at the 120 outlets islandwide with the support of sister companies.

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