Sri Lanka launches fourth Decent Work Country Programme


(L-R) D W Subasinghe, General Secretary of Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions K Marimuttu, Vice President of Ceylon Workers Congress,P Ranawakaarchchi, General Secretary of National Trade Union Federation , S . A . N . Saranatissa, Secretary Ministry of Labour & Trade Union Relations, Simrin Singh, ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka & the Maldives, Kanishka Weerasinghe, Director General Employers Federation of Ceylon, Anton Marcus Joint Secretary, Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union, Leslie Devendra, General Secretary, Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya and A Wimalaweera, Commissioner of Labour.

Sri Lanka’s fourth Decent Work Country Programme was launched in Colombo recently.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) giving effect to this was signed by the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC), the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions (CFTU), the Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) for and on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, employers’ organisations and workers’ organisations and the International Labour Organization Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives (ILO).

In her opening remarks, ILO Country Director Simrin Singh thanked the signatories saying, "without whose passion, vigour, and engagement this DWCP could not have been developed".

S. A. N. Saranatissa, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, expressed his confidence that "through the new DWCP, the government, employers’ and workers’ organisations as well as the ILO could achieve the maximum outcome for sustainable development of the country in the next five years."

The DWCP is an important milestone as it sets out how the tripartite constituents of the ILO can cooperate to deliver dignity, equality, protection and prosperity in the world of work for Sri Lanka’s women, men and youth, now and in the future. Vice-President of the CWC (Legal & Administration) K. Marimuttu endorsed it, observing "it is a great asset to the country."

The ‘Future of Work’ is a key theme in the latest country programme unlike earlier editions. Climate change, an ageing population, and technological advancements are re-shaping the labour market more rapidly than ever before.

K. Weerasinghe, Director General of the EFC observed, "the DWCP is important for employers to promote sustainable business practices. As we look to the future, we need to integrate issues such as diverse forms of employment and create a platform for changes in the world of work that are taking place through digitaisation and automation".

The 2018-2022 Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) for Sri Lanka was devised in partnership with the constituents of the ILO (state, employers’ and workers’ organisations); relevant ministries; district government officials; cooperatives; United Nations agencies and others, beginning in late July 2017 and ending in late April 2018. "This DWCP was developed through a very intensive tripartite consultation process", commented D. W. Subasinghe, General Secretary of the CFTU.

A. Marcus, Joint Secretary of the FTZGSEU explained that more than before, his union had been fully engaged in the preparation of the new DWCP, which needs to be delivered with "adaptability to the changes and trends in the country." NTUF General Secretary P. Ranawakaarachchi also confirmed how in the spirit of tripartism, all the constituents "worked really hard towards developing the DWCP and are fully committed to support this."

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