Evolving labour dynamicsSimrin Singh discusses the imperatives for working people in Sri Lanka and beyond in an evolving labour market
Setting labour standards, developing policies, and devising programmes to promote decent work for all women and men fall within the ambit of the ILO – a tripartite UN agency that has brought governments, employers and workers from over 180 member states together since as far back as 1919.
Simrin Singh officially took over as the new Country Director for the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives on 1 April last year. In this exclusive interview with LMD, she highlights a number of priorities for both policy makers and business in general, with a special focus on labour and the employment landscape.
Among other core concerns with respect to the broader labour market are productivity in both the local and regional context, pay scales and their impact on productivity, labour regulations, the concept of work-life balance and what constitutes a ‘great workplace,’ as well as issues faced by the ‘working poor.’
While commending Sri Lanka’s “relatively stable macroeconomic position,” the ILO’s Country Director observes that “gaps do continue to exist in terms of adequate scope and application of the laws, particularly given the high degree of informality in the Sri Lankan labour market and changing patterns of work.”
Furthermore, education and literacy receive attention with Singh noting that “the emphasis in the modern world is not only on knowledge transfer but skills transfer as well, bringing into sharper focus the urgent need to focus on the quality of education.”
A national of the United States, Singh has been an ILO staff member since 2000. She has held various positions in different ILO offices as well as at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization in Geneva.
Her most recent post at the ILO (between 2008 and early 2017) was as a Senior Specialist on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work – she was based at the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok.
Read the detailed interview