On 18 July 2021 the Sajeeb Group Workers Justice Committee submitted letters to the Director General of Fire Services & Civil Defence and the Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments calling for the immediate investigation of all factories operated by the Sajeed Group of Companies.
The letters were submitted by Abdul Mazid, General Secretary and Mamun Hossain, Assistant General Secretary of BAFLF BAFLF, on behalf of the Sajeeb Group Workers Justice Committee
Based on the extensive and systematic exploitation of child labour at the Hashem Foods factory and hazardous working conditions, the Committee called on both government agencies to inspect eight other factories including Hashem Rice Mills, Sajeeb Foods and Beverage, Hashem Agro Processing, Hashem Flour Mills, Sajeeb Logistics and Savvy Foods.
Trade unions in Sri Lanka, including the IUF-affiliated CMU, held a mass protest rally demanding the immediate and unconditional release of trade union leaders and activist members who were arrested by police on July 8, 2021.
Although the court released them, they were taken by police 330 km from Colombo and placed in a COVID-19 quarantine camp. This is yet another example of the government abusing COVID-19 protocols and restrictions to curtail trade union activities and persecute trade unionists.
The trade union leaders and members were arrested on July 7 at a protest against the unfair termination of workers from State Engineering Corporation. Police brutally disbursed the protesters and arrested them. On July 8 police also arrested trade unionists protesting against proposed legislation to establish another military academy that threatens to undermine the education system.
On their release trade unionists were not tested for COVID-19, but were instead placed in a quarantine center with COVID-19 patients, exposing them to the risk of infection.
The trade unions jointly protested, demanding the release the leaders and members from the quarantine centre.