To the Brandix Board of Directors.
Priyan Fernando, Chairman, Ashroff Omar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Aslam Omar, Feroz Omar, Ajith Johnpillai, Trevine Jayasekara, Dave Ranasinghe.
Since the initial identification of a COVID-19 infected employee at Brandix manufacturing facility in Minuwangoda, all hell has broken loose.
The Economy was slowly getting back to pre covid. Now it is in tatters again. The first female employee detected in the Brandix facility has been subject to unfair slander in the media. The company did nothing to defend her until now. In disgust she went public saying that despite the fact several girls were sick they were forced to work by the company (Mawbima). However in a letter to the employees the CEO says the health and safety of our employees is our topmost priority, any leader, at any level, who has been negligent will be held accountable. We are conducing a comprehensive independent investigation of our factory in Minuwangoda. Further he says we will take strong action where necessary and address what needs to change in order to prevent this from happening again. In addition, he assures accountability after statements were made that the employees safety protocol was compromised and also assuring his employees that the company did not break any protocol when repatriating its Sri Lankan colleagues and their families back home from India, nor did they shift any orders or material from India into the Minuwangoda factory. All these are motherhood statements and a bit too late for comfort now for the public. The CEO also says “It takes a quietening of the mind to find and tap into the compassion that is also there inside each one of us. Compassion for ourselves and for one another is the need of the hour. I have no doubt that we will look back at this experience at a time when our mettle was tested, and we came through it victorious – as a kinder and more humane race,”. (Colombo Gazette). Brandix has said several times over again that the well-being of their employees, communities, and the nation continues to be their top priority. In the first place all these statements seems an eye wash to the public. If the well-being of their employees, communities, and the nation was your priority the company should not have allowed a violation of the basic protocols. You claim you are a World Class Company. The next issue is the serious allegation made in Parliament that your Security Chief got Indian Nationals through a VIP channel. Is this correct? The PHI Association (DM Report) deny they were involved in any protocols. Given all these unanswered questions the company owes a honest explanation to society. Many are reeling with the post impact of Minuwangoda. Questions were also asked about a Brandix top Official’s Daughter or Son returning from the USA not going through the required quarantine at a designated center in March- May. If this is a rumor, like the many that floats on Social Media, the company can produce the quarantine certificate issued by the government and clear this.
Sirs, very likely because of your strong political connections on both sides, deep pockets and the critical nature of your export business, Brandix will survive this crisis to live another day, while those lives that are shattered will unfortunately be forgotten after your next visit to the Golf Club, while the rest of you when you settle into your luxury passenger seats with the phone, some may even boast how they played the system and won. But please take a moment to think of the stitchers in your factories, the gram sellers and the road sweepers whose livelihoods are shattered because of someone’s stupidity.