Sri Lanka’s New Decent Work Agenda launched

Sri Lanka’s fourth Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) was launched on May 16, following signature of a memorandum of understanding between Government of Sri Lanka, employers’ organisations, and workers’ organisations; and the LO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Press release | 17 May 2018
From left to right: Mr D W Subasinghe, General Secretary, Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions; Mr K Marimuttu, Vice President, Ceylon Workers Congress; Mr P Ranawakaarchchi, General Secretary, National Trade Union Federation; Mr S A N Saranatissa, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Trade Union Relations; Ms Simrin Singh, ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka & the Maldives; Mr Kanishka Weerasinghe, Director General, Employers Federation of Ceylon; Mr Anton Marcus; Joint Secretary, Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union; Mr Leslie Devendra, General Secretary, Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya; Mr A Wimalaweera, Commissioner of Labour, Department of Labour; photo credit:harsha@dailyft
COLOMBO (ILO News) - Sri Lanka’s fourth Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) was launched on 16 May, following signature of a memorandum of understanding between 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.

In her opening remarks, ILO Country Director Ms Simrin Singh thanked the signatories, “without whose passion, vigour, and engagement this DWCP could not have been developed”. Mr 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, can achieve the maximum outcome for sustainable development of the country in the next five years.”

through the new DWCP, the government, employers and workers organisations as well as the ILO, can achieve the maximum outcome for sustainable development of the country in the next five years;

Mr. S. A. N. Saranatissa, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations
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) Mr 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.

As Mr 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 digitalisation 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 Mr D. W. Subasinghe, General Secretary of the CFTU.

Mr 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 Mr 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.”

Launch of the 4th Decent Work Country Programme
The four country priorities of the DWCP are the creation of sustainable, inclusive and decent employment; better governance of the labour market; rights at work for all; and greater data and knowledge generation. Some new elements in the DWCP are inclusion of persons with disability into the labour market, gender equality and equity, climate resilience, and data and knowledge generation. These outcomes are aligned with national policy frameworks and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

As Mr L. Devendra, General Secretary of the SLNSS concluded, “We all have to work together collectively and take action to implement this DWCP so that years after, we can be proud of our contribution to the country.”

For further information, please contact: Mr Asitha Seneviratne, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives: asitha@ilo.org , Tel: + 94112592525 – www.ilo.org/colombo