FORWARDED APPEAL (Sri Lanka): Over 300 workers in Jaela fight for labour rights 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an appeal from the Human Rights Circle in Ekala, Jaela, Sri Lanka regarding over 300 workers who were unlawfully dismissed after two separate factories closed down without following legal procedures. The two factories are Orex Factory and Jewel Arts International. It is reported that both factory owners did not pay the gratuity and compensation to the workers, as a result of which, the workers and their families are struggling to survive.

Furthermore, there are cases pending in court against the factory owners, both of whom have constantly refused to appear at any hearings.

Your urgent action is required to pressure the local authorities to intervene in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda of the Human Rights Circle at

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

An Appeal for Solidarity from Two Groups of Victimized Workers in Sri Lanka

This story is about two worker groups at Ekala, Jaela. The first is a group of 73 workers at Orex Factory. The owner is Mohamed Mohamed Izzath of 34A, 33 Lane, Bagatale Rd, Kollupitiya. His wife’s name is Nurul Wasira Izzath and the son is Shabrin Izzath.

The various products of this factory were plastic items such as ballpoint pens, tooth brushes, combs and various household items.

All incidents of social ills committed by M.M. Izath cannot be produced in one page. But permit me to mention here at least one which will reflect what an evil person he is.

Having profited millions of rupees from blood and sweat of the workers for twenty long years, he arbitrarily closed down the factory three and half years ago without any reference to the legal procedures normally adopted by any employer in such instances or paying dues to the workers.

The immoral and anti social character of this man has driven 73 workers and their dependents on to the streets. Further, this employer has deprived the ETF and EPF fund made available by law for the benefits of the workers at a time of their need. He has robbed also the March and April salaries, from year 1993 and their gratuity and compensation payments.

On complaints made by the workers through the labour department, the court of Law has given orders to this person to appear before it for cases No 9804, 9559, 5245, 16897, 20393, 36015, 39439, 43206, 5846, 45207, 20393, 98265 filed against him. He has 15 impending cases against him.

Because of his absence at courts the magistrate has given orders to the Inspector General of Police to produce him before court. But until this day he has failed to carry them out.

The second is a worker group of a garment factory by the same name ‘Jewel Arts International’ which was established in 1970, by M.M. Kaleel the elder brother of Izzath of OREX, in a 10 acre land, at Ekala Jaela.

More than 1000 workers were employed in this factory. Its main office is located on the 5thfloor, 324 Galle Rd, Kollupitiya, Colombo. In 1994, he terminated the services of 311 workers who have been employed for 15 long years. Also, the ETF and EPF, gratuity and compensation have not been paid to the workers.

Although the labour department has filed a case against him, he does not appear before court of law and as a result this case is been dragged on for last 11 years.

Thus the two brothers have done a great injustice to these workers. We trust no right thinking man or woman will approve such evil acts.

We are very much puzzled how Izzath with such infamous records, the owner of Orex, can escape police arrest?

These events clearly reflect the new climate that is prevailing in the country. The labour department is no longer an institution to cater to the needs of the workers. It is now transformed to see to the interests of the investors, no matter what happen to the workers. This is a result of the introduction of the market policies. It has no respect for human dignity. The one and only criterion is profit.

Request of Solidarity

In solidarity, we kindly ask you to send a fax message to the Inspector of Police asking why he ignores the court order to produce Izzath the owner of Orex Company, before court?

We also ask you to write to the Minister of Labour and Commissioner General of Labour why he takes no action against M.M. Kaleel the owner of ‘Jewel Arts International’ who avoids appearing before the court of law?

The Fax Numbers:

The Inspector General of Police: (+94) 11 224 6174
The Minister of Labour: (+94) 11 258 8950
The Commissioner of Labour: (+94) 11 258 1145

We thank you in advance for taking action of solidarity with victims of above mentioned groups of workers. The affected workers shall very much appreciate if the copies of letters sent to the above numbers, be emailed to

Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
Human Rights Circle,
Ekala, Jaela, Sri Lanka.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-23-2005
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Labour rights,