The Employers' Federation of Ceylon

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Sri Lanka’s Employers’ Grouping hailed as exemplary unit by ILO

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The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) of Sri Lanka, the premier employer representative organisation in Sri Lanka, was complemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) last week.

This occurred at an event held at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla, to launch a scheme to present an independent audited information of corporate entities on compliance on – Equal employment opportunities; Employer/employee relations; Work arrangements and Environment.
Donglin Li, ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives speaking at the launch of EFC ‘Compliance plus Initiative’ said that the EFC is the most forward looking organisation representing the business community promoting the decent work agenda and the concept of core international labour standards. He said that EFC, a long standing partner of the ILO, has been a driving force in contributing employer viewpoints to the ILO.

He said that there are consumer movements in the world that restrict buying from producers who do not comply with labour rights and pointed out that labour issues and working conditions have become clear denominators to trading agreements across the globe.
He said “I do not have to tell you how important it is in this globalised world, for Sri Lanka to find ways of carving out a niche in the highly competitive world markets and in the last couple of years there have also been some challenges with regard to compliance of international obligations”.

He stressed the importance of compliance with labour, social and environmental standards to meet the expectations of the world community, while sustainable growth requires economic efficiency in enterprises.

He said that the ILO encourages countries to ratify and implement the core conventions relating to elimination of child labour, forced labour and discrimination and to the promotion of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

In explaining all about what ‘Compliance +’ is, Ravi Peiris, Director General, EFC said that the rationale is for a new Sri Lankan Employer Brand – to showcase the very high standards maintained in employing workers – and this showcasing is with a Sri Lankan business Identity.
He said that the brand that EFC introduces is a unique product that would enable Employers/Enterprises to showcase themselves as exemplary businesses, vis-a-vis employment practices, in the context of national and international norms.

The Compliance+ brand is a source of assurance to any business stakeholder national or international that an enterprise holding this standard is not just compliant with the laws of the land, but seeks to surpass mandatory standards, and excel in them with its employment practices and the areas of compliance are: Equal opportunities in employment; Employer-employee relations; Work arrangement practices and Environment, Mr. Peiris pointed out.

The EFC, he said respects labour standards and advises its members to work within the framework of the law. Mr. Peiris said that equal opportunities in employment, freedom of association and the right to collectively bargain are fundamental principles which the EFC has always respected and promoted.

Consequent to the open economy, he said that the EFC widened its scope to make it a proactive organisation, catering to the needs of its members. He said the EFC today has a membership of 600 representing a wide spectrum of employers in Sri Lanka.

He pointed out that though the country has joined the middle income club, its share of exports in relation to GDP has shrunk from a healthy 33 per cent to exactly half at 16.5 per cent in 2012; thus it is very important to do more to attract investment towards a sustainable employment generating income.

“It is not so long ago that Sri Lanka had to respond to a petition filed by the American Federation of Labour Congress of International Organisations (AFLCIO) alleging breach of labour standards. The EFC also made its own submissions, along with the government,” he said denying these allegations and showcasing the country as being one which always respected and observed labour standards in Asia.
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By Quintus Perera 
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Last Updated ( Monday, 13 October 2014 08:57 )
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