Sri Lanka’s unions have expressed displeasure at having sidelined them completely from key COVID-19 working group meetings, as workers continued to be battered by the ongoing pandemic and pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Union leaders made the remarks during a meeting with Labor Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on Wednesday.
Although the government had to involve union representatives in formulating health guidelines for the private sector, the co-secretary of the Union of Free Zone and General Service Employees, Anton Marcus, lamented that there had been no no involvement of union representatives in these exercises.
In addition, he noted that even the Minister of Labor Nimal Siripala de Silva had also been excluded from these meetings at the national level and from the decision-making process, therefore, he pointed out that the workers in the private sector of the country did not. had no way of submitting their comments and contributions.
In his response, de Silva said he had called the meeting with union representatives to solicit contributions from union representatives before the country reopened on October 1, at the request of Finance Minister Basil Rajapakse.
Meanwhile, Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya General Secretary Leslie Devendra informed the minister that unions are now preparing to file labor rights violations complaints directly with foreign brands of their local sourcing partners, due to the slow progress in investigating these alleged labor violations by the authorities.
In response, the minister promised to call another meeting shortly to specifically discuss the delays in the lawsuits against these employers.