Reconstitution of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) and Labour Law Reforms Consultations
Posted on May 23rd, 2023

Manusha Media

The recent non-inclusion of the Free Trade Zones & General Service Employees Union (FTZ&GEU), along with three other trade unions, from the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) is a result of the Ministry’s yearly reconstitution process. The NLAC appointments are granted yearly, and memberships expire at the end of each year. The last NLAC was appointed in 2022, and membership expired in 2023, and this was mentioned in the appointment letter.

It should be highlighted that the NLAC’s constitution does not allow for trade unions to be selected arbitrarily. Further, the NLAC constitution clearly says that most representative trade unions should be taken. Accordingly, trade unions with a more extensive membership base are represented. Membership strength is dynamic, and we should provide opportunities for new trade unions that have gained strength during the period.

It is unfair to keep trade unions with the most represented association outside the national forum and trade unions with less representation inside the NLAC. Further, trade unions that were not selected have the opportunity to gain NLAC membership next year if they get enough membership.

During the selection process, trade unions were allowed to correct membership errors in January. Some trade unions responded and rectified their membership errors. FTZ&GEU union should have provided the required details, and therefore membership strength was determined based on contributions. In the “N” report, an annual return submitted by every trade union to the Department of Labour, some trade unions randomly put no’s and tried to gain membership in the NLAC. Observing these facts, the Selection Committee recommended calculating membership strength based on the total contribution received by the union from its members. Accordingly, trade unions

were selected based on subscriptions they received from their members. Therefore, only genuine trade unions with the most representatives could gain membership in the NLAC.
t is essential to respect the NLAC’s constitution, which aims to ensure that most representative workers’ voices are heard at the national forum. Selecting trade unions based on reliable data, not arbitrary numbers mentioned in annual returns, is also essential.

Regarding the ongoing public consultations on Labour Law Reforms, a public notice in three leading national newspapers was published in all three languages calling for input from interested parties in labor law reforms. Accordingly, the following representatives have participated in representing their respective trade unions.

1. Mr. Anton Marcus – Joint Secretary, Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees Union

2. Mr. Leslie Devendra -General Secretary, Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya

3. Ms. Swastika Arulingam – Deputy General Secretary (Commercial and Industrial Workers Union), United Federation of Labour

4. Mr. Palitha Atukorale – President, National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka

5. Mr. S.P.Nathan – General Secretary, The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU)

6. Mr. Peter Almeida – Deputy General Secretary, The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU)

7. Mr. Nishantha Wanniarachchi – Ceylon Estates Staffs’ Union

8. Mr. S.v. Liyanaarachchi – Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees Union

9. Mr. U.Chaminda Perera – Assistant General Secretary, Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions

10. Mr. Janaka Adhikari – General Secretary, Inter Company Employees Union

11. Mr. Barath Arullsamy – Assistant Secretary, Ceylon Workers Congress

12. Mr. Mr. Channa Sirinath Dissanayake – President, Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union

13. Mr. Robert Francis- General Secretary, CESU

14. Mr. D.Wijegunaratne – Deputy General Secretary, CESU

15. Mr. S.Murugaiyah – Joint Plantation Trade Union Center

Given the national importance of Labour Law Reforms, the Ministry has organized two more public consultations on the 24th and 31st of May 2023, and we invite interested parties to participate in making it an inclusive process.

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