CNCI Chairman requests for employee priority for C-19 vaccination | Daily News

CNCI Chairman requests for employee priority for C-19 vaccination

Chairman Canisius Fernando
Chairman Canisius Fernando

Chairman of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando, requests the Government to vaccinate the employees of manufacturing and service industries and trading companies as a matter of priority as the Government starts the vaccination program with the “Sinopharm” vaccine. CNCI Chairman states that the Industrial sector is facing numerous challenges amid COVID-19 as the companies have been dealing with shutdowns, limited operations and other disruptions for more than a year now.

As vaccines begin to roll out with receipt of a considerable quantity of 3.1 mn doses of “Sinopharm” vaccine, he believes that the industrial sector employees deserve to be given priority for their active and risk-taking contribution to keep the essential products and services moving uninterruptedly amidst numerous hardships to maintain the socio-economic wellbeing during this period. Further, he pointed out that a sizable quantity of employees in the industrial sector have taken the first dose of the “Astra Zenica - covishield” vaccine and are awaiting the second dose. Whilst extending his profound gratitude on behalf of the CNCI to the medical and health care professionals, the COVID-19 task force and officers of all other Government institutions he has requested the Government authorities concerned to consider the industry employees as a priority segment in the Covid-19 Vaccination program.

Today the industries, especially those related to export processing and manufacturing of essential products, and services have been uninterruptedly in operation with limited employees. However, many companies in the manufacturing sector are in a dilemma at this critical period due to rising overhead costs against lesser or no output.

The companies in operation have to incur a huge cost to get a percentage of their employees PCR tested weekly. The cost of employee transport has been doubled. The scale of production has been drastically reduced due to the maintenance of social distancing on the work floor. On the other hand, manufacturing companies can’t let the employees “work from home” as the manufacturing processes are labour intensive, unlike in some highly automated industries. Freight costs have gone up more than 40% due to the Global Impact of the pandemic on the shipping industry. The situation has been aggravated due to Govt. approval process of disposing of industrial waste.

The outcome is the high cost of production which leads to an increase in the cost to consumers while exporters become uncompetitive. He further mentioned that the employees performing in such settings are vulnerable and highly susceptible to get the disease as well as to rapidly spread it even if one employee among them gets infected. The speed of the spread among their colleagues will be very high due to the interconnected operations in any industry.

This situation will be of high risk to maintain productivity and support the country’s economy. Similarly, the employees are discouraged to report for duty, ultimately creating a shortage of essential goods in the market, causing inflation. We believe that the possible adverse effects that could be brought to socio-economic life with such jeopardy need not be overemphasized.

Considering all these factors, the Chairman of the CNCI earnestly requests the Government to make immediate arrangements to vaccinate the industrial sector employees especially those engaged in the manufacturing and service industries and trading companies as a matter of priority.

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