April, 3, 2020
Working in strict alignment with guidelines set by health officials to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hayleys Plantations sector initiated several measures to ensure that the daily needs of all its employees were met, while rolling out a set of strict health and safety regulations to be followed in the field, factories and estate premises.
Accordingly, the company provided its entire plantation work force community and their families - a population of 140,000 people, with dry rations and food packs through estate worker housing cooperative societies which were delivered directly to the estates in order to safeguard the community during the ongoing curfew. Additionally, steps were taken to clean and disinfect estate premises and staff quarters with the support of regional Public Health Inspectors (PHIs), police officers and regional government officers with motorised spraying machines.
“The health and safety of each of our employees and their families is our utmost priority. We are working to ensure that all industry-critical operations are maintained while safeguarding our workers and the estate community against COVID-19. Especially at a time when the national and global economy stands at an unprecedented tipping point, we must each do whatever we can within the limitations we face to mitigate the downturn in economic activity. However, we are carefully monitoring the situation as it develops and further action will be taken as needed to ensure that our workers are safe, healthy and provided with adequate supplies at all times. Our focus at this time is not only on our workforce of over 22,000 but also the well-being of our plantation community of over 140,000,” Hayleys Plantations Managing Director, Dr Roshan Rajadurai said.
All employees have been equipped with hand sanitiser and face masks, with some estates going so far as to manufacture their own protective gear. Daily awareness programmes are also being held to highlight the importance of social distancing to contain the spread of the virus with the support of health officials. Furthermore, posters and advisory notices with safety instructions have been distributed among the staff and displayed at all prominent locations across estates in all three languages.
Working together with the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) and Save the Children, Hayleys Plantations has taken special care to safeguard the crèches and child development centres to ensure the safety of all children in the community.
Concurrently, all management teams have also been equipped with tablets, mobile phones and dashboard systems to facilitate communication between the estates and roll-out strategies and decisions taken by corporate management teams.
Established in 1878 by Chas. P. Hayley as a trading house in Galle specialising in import and export, the Hayleys Group has since grown to serve as a centrepiece of the Sri Lankan economy while maintaining a global presence of manufacturing and marketing offices across five regions with business interests spanning a total of 16 sectors. Today it stands out as one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent success stories, having been the first listed Sri Lankan corporate to surpass US$ 1billion in revenue and accounting for 3.3% of the nation’s total export earnings.
Photo caption: (Above) Regular monitoring of daily needs and health issues of workers by human development staff
Issuing dry rations to elderly people in the estate (left) and issuing dry rations to workers
Applying all health and safety measures at factories (left) and social distance at all the daily work schedules