ILO supports the Department of Labour in conducting a business process review of the dispute settlement system

ILO in collaboration with the Department of Labour will conduct a 2 day workshop from 5-6 April 2019 to review the existing Dispute Resolution Mechanisms with a view to streamlining the current processes (including the gender dimension) in delivering more effective and efficient advisory services and improving responsiveness.

Previous studies have highlighted that the current system of labour dispute settlement in Sri Lanka to be more inclined towards litigation and follow an adversarial approach in resolution of disputes.

The system is also characterised by considerable delays in reaching settlements and rely on outdated procedures and limited logistical and resource support. In order to maintain industrial peace in response to a rapidly changing environment, we need to consider alternate dispute resolution mechanisms. The focus of the labour dispute settlement process hence needs to be shifted from dispute resolution to prevention – centred on assisting employers and workers to resolve their own problems through dialogue, negotiation, and the inclusion of dispute settlement procedures in their respective collective agreements. Further the current process does not take into consideration that a third of the labour force consists of women and that they face a unique set of challenges in employment and in workplaces.

The initiative to prepare a Business Process Review (BPR) of the dispute settlement process of the Department of Labour is three fold: firstly, to map the current dispute settlement process, secondly, to identify gaps and areas for improvement, including in the areas of technology, processes, and skills, and finally to develop an action plan to enhance its dispute settlement process in the light of the mapping exercise and gap identification, keeping in mind the need to change the focus to prevent labour disputes and to ensure that disputes are recognised and dealt with proactively.

This will contribute to Sri Lanka’s Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) 2018-2-22 Country Priority 2: Better Governance of the Labour Market. Outcome 2.2: More effective labour administration system with more efficient workplace inspection in place, which is directly aligned with building dispute resolution capacity of the labour inspectorate.

The workshop will bring together officials of the Department of Labour across the country, engaged in the dispute settlement processes at various stages of the process.