Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Sri Lanka Minister Manusha Nanayakkara Meets with the ILO Director General in Geneva
Posted on June 11th, 2024

Manusha Media

June 10, 2024 – Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara, currently in Geneva to attend the Annual International Labour Conference (ILC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), held a significant meeting this morning with the Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, at the United Nations Headquarters.

Minister Nanayakkara was accompanied by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Resident Representative to the UN, the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Mr. Balasubramaniam Vasanthan, the Commissioner General of Labour, Mr. Jayasundara, and Advisor cum Private Secretary to the Minister, Mr. Shan Yahampath. The meeting also saw the presence of Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the ILO.

During the meeting, Minister Nanayakkara presented several key initiatives and ongoing projects by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, highlighting Sri Lanka’s commitment to improving labor standards and employment conditions.

Key Discussion Points:

Ratification of ILO Conventions:

The Minister discussed the progress towards ratifying the Work in Fishing Convention (C188). The Ministry of Fisheries has addressed identified gaps, and the government expects to ratify the convention soon.

Provisions in the new Employment Act aimed at combating discrimination, workplace violence, and protecting domestic workers were elaborated.

Plans to ratify the Occupational Safety and Health Convention (C155), Domestic Workers Convention (C189), and Violence and Harassment Convention (C190) were also outlined.

Social Security Policy:

The policy includes unemployment benefits, maternity benefits, and employment injury insurance. Minister Nanayakkara highlighted that ILO’s assistance is needed to strengthen this framework.

National Labour Market Information System (NLMIS):

An update was provided on the development of the NLMIS, which aims to address existing gaps in the labor market by providing comprehensive data and insights.

Labour Market Recovery and Transformation Strategy (LMRTS):

Launched on May 21, 2024, with ILO’s support, the LMRTS focuses on job creation, skills upgrading, and institutional reforms. An inter-ministerial high-level committee will be appointed to monitor and implement this strategy.

Mr. Houngbo expressed his admiration for the progressive work undertaken by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment. He specifically commended the recent 70% salary increment for plantation sector workers and noted the adherence to the ILO’s principle of social dialogue during this process.

Additionally, Minister Nanayakkara discussed an upcoming collaborative effort with the ILO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to train care workers. This initiative aims to increase female workforce participation, eliminate gender-discriminatory practices, and ensure decent work conditions for women in Sri Lanka.

Minister Nanayakkara’s discussions and presentations at the ILC underscore Sri Lanka’s ongoing commitment to labor reforms and international cooperation to enhance workforce employment standards and social protection.

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