Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Sri Lanka

The first joint seminar for the CWC, NTUF, and SLNSS

JILAF, together with the Asia-Pacific regional organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-AP), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on October 13–14 for leaders of the three organizations in Sri Lanka affiliated with the ITUC, namely, the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), and Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS). A total of 58 people participated. The seminar was extremely significant, because it was the first time for the three ITUC-affiliated national centers to gather together for such an event. A representative of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon also attended.
In the seminar, JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno delivered two lectures titled “Social and Economic Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement” and “Postwar Formation of the Japanese Labour Movement and Characteristics of Japanese Labour-Management Relations: Japanese Trade Unions Built from Ruins.” In the former, he aroused the interest of the participants by raising issues from such perspectives as (1) five changes and transfigurations brought about by globalization; (2) the post-civil-war situation in Sri Lanka, where economic development is continuing centered on tourism and the construction industry; (3) the response to globalization and future course to be followed based on an understanding of the essence of surrounding environmental changes; (4) the disappearance of uniformity and widening of disparities in an environment of mixed premodern, modern, contemporary, and ultramodern elements and the role of trade unions; (5) the labour movement’s role in achieving social and economic development and improving national life and the role and responsibility of leaders; (6) the upgrading of labour and fair distribution of the results of corporate growth to workers; and (7) the importance of fostering secondary industries toward sustained economic development. In the latter, he spoke about (1) the history of the Japanese labour movement since the end of World War II and changes in campaign policy; (2) macroeconomic growth and improvement of the lives and working conditions of union members; (3) the productivity movement; (4) Japan’s labour-management consultation system and collective bargaining; (5) organizational management emphasizing dialogue with union members on the shop floor; and (6) the annual spring labour struggle waged by RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation). JILAF Executive Director Danno expressed his hope for the further development of the labour movement in Sri Lanka.
From the Sri Lankan side, CWC Deputy President xxxxx Marimuthu, NTUF President K. Velayudam, and SLNSS General Secretary Lesley Devendra gave talks, from their respective standpoints, on “Issues Facing Industrial Relations in Sri Lanka amid Globalization.” They mentioned such matters as (1) the establishment of a social security system, (2) improvement of the unionization ratio, (3) control of the increasingly flexible employment patterns, (4) observance of labour-related laws and regulations by employers, (5) establishment and enforcement of government industrial policies not dependent on service industries, and (6) formalization of the informal economy. Deputy Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon also gave a talk on issues in Sri Lanka’s industrial relations amid globalization from the perspective of management.
Finally, JILAF Executive Director Danno and the leaders of the three Sri Lankan labour organizations took part in a panel discussion on the role of trade unions in a global economy and other topics. It was a good opportunity for the panelists to engage in trans-organizational discussions with the participants.


10/13MonSeminar day 1
10/14TueSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Panel discussion

CWC Deputy President xxxxx Marimuthu

NTUF President K. Velayudam

SLNSS General Secretary Lesley Devendra

Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Deputy Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe

Participants listen attentively