Trade unions have requested from Minister of Labour and Trade Unions, Ravindra Samaraweera for immediate withdrawal of proposed Single Labour Law.
The proposed Single Labour Law presented to the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) on July 09, 2019 was on account of serious provisions undermining of and heavy restrictions on worker rights, the trade unions pointed out.
This proposed law would repeal the Wages Board Ordinance that decides basic working conditions of around 08 million private sector workers and would also repeal the Shop and Office Act, the Maternity Benefit Act and the Act that provides for employment of women and children, a letter submitted to the minister detailed.
The trade unions emphasized it would also make the 08 hour working day invalid and basically deny the workers their legitimate rights enjoyed to date. The employer is given the right to decide working conditions in employment contracts and this law provides legal coverage for such employer decided contracts, as viewed by the trade unions.
Despite malignant attempts made by manpower agencies over working community, the proposed Single Labour Act seeks legitimacy to their sources of employment and thereby threatens the security of labours, they pointed out.
The letter also discloses that a US-based consultancy firm, "Chemotic International Inc.", that provided support in drafting the said "very offensive" law, at a total violation of all traditions and norms in clearing and amending labour laws of Sri Lanka.
The letter also claims that it was contracted by the USAID for a project with the Ministry of Strategic Development and External Trade, funded by the USAID itself
The letter was signed by Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union, Ceylon Federation of trade unions, Inter companies employees union, National union of see fares, United federation of labour, Lanka Estate staff union, Ceylon Mercantile Industrial & General Workers Union, Ceylon Bank Employees Union, Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union, Joint Plantation Trade Union Center, National Trade Union Center, All Railway workers Unity, Railway services trade Union Joint Front, United General Services Employees Union, Commercial and Industrial Workers Union, Union of postal and Telecommunication officers, Sri Lanka Postal and Telecommunication Union, National Postal and Telecommunication Union, Independent Port workers Union, Government Printers Union, Ceylon Teachers Union, Information and Telecommunication all workers union and All Ceylon Administration officers Union.