‘This May Day embrace change in world of work’ says EFC DG

Monday, 30 April 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In recognising International Workers’ Day on 1 May, the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Ravi Peiris has urged all stakeholders to embrace the change in the world of work.

He also emphasised the need for progressive labour legislation if Sri Lanka is to successfully manage the inevitable changes in the world of work. Here are excerpts from EFC Director General’s message for the Worker’s Day:

We are commemorating May Day which is regarded as the International Workers’ Day, at a time when the world of work is going through a process of transformation. Some countries have recognised this process and have made structural adjustments to suit the requirements.

Unfortunately, there are others, which appreciate the need for change, but have not been able to make changes in the employment framework.  It is time that all stakeholders in employment look at the employment relationship focusing on each country’s requirements.

The youth employment crisis is to be given top priority at this year’s International Labour Conference scheduled to be held in Geneva next month. Sri Lanka records an unemployment rate of 19% in respect of youth. A recent survey conducted by the EFC amongst employers revealed that 91% of them believe that the labour law framework in our country obstructs employment generation.

Therefore, what we require is not a ‘hire and fire’ regime. Neither should it be a ‘hire forever’ regime. It is time that we strike a balance between rights and obligations. Our employment framework is skewed far too much towards “rights” without any emphasis on obligations. ‘Security of employment’ is perceived on the basis of a tight regulatory framework. True security of employment can only be found by employees acquiring relevant skills that are needed by employers at any given time. We need to change to suit the needs of today. What happened in the past may no longer be relevant today. This is true in our daily lives. Why can it not apply to employment?

It is time that we shift our focus towards a more proactive employment relationship that would help in creating a necessary environment for economic development in our country.