Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Sri Lanka -Phase I & II

The Project will contribute to improving labour-relations in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has ratified the eight core ILO conventions on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) and thus appears to be committed to respecting those commitments in national law and practice. While the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations has strengthened its compliance with FPRW in recent years by implementing a number of programmes to improve the Sri Lankan workplace, the Government has received comments from the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) and the Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) on the country’s application of the principle of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Many of these comments were focused on anti-union practices in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) such as restrictions on the right to organize, limitations on the right to strike, and restrained government action against anti-union discrimination and unjust dismissals.

The project will build on achievements of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) of Sri Lanka, in which the government has included as a cross cutting theme, the promotion of the application of International Labour Standards (ILS). The DWCP specifically recognizes the need to improve institutional and human capacities of the national authorities to effectively comply and enforce the international commitments in this regard. For example, Priority two of the DWCP sets out the need to improve the labour administration system, including inspections. Priority three sets out the need to improve the use of tripartism in industrial relations through the reinforcement of tripartite institutions and social dialogue. Although tripartite structures have existed in various forms in Sri Lanka, there have been little sustained efforts to coordinate the activities of the social partners and to provide them with a role in determining policy or legal reform.

Project objectives

  • Objective 1: Workers’ and employers’ organizations with improved capacities to: engage in sound workplace cooperation and labour-management relations, participate in social dialogue; improve working conditions and enhance productivity.
  • Objective 2: Legal framework more in conformity with international labour standards
  • Objective 3: Institutions and processes for labour-management relations, including those at the enterprise level, strengthened
  • Objective 4: Strengthen labour administration for its effective intervention to promote sound labour relations, prevent and solve disputes and ensure compliance with labour regulations.

Project partners and stakeholders

  • Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations
  • Department of Labour
  • Board of Investment (BOI), Sri Lanka
  • Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and its affiliated partners
  • Free trade zone unions and national trade unions

For further information

Mr Ravindra Samithadasa

National Project Coordinator