109th Session of the International Labour Conference

"First of all, I want to thank the ILO for organizing such a session virtually during this difficult time with a greater effort and also the excellent report by Brother. Guy Rider ILO Secretary-General reflects including all the suppressions the employees who come under the Global Supply chain went under this hard time because the covid dismantled the whole supply chain globally. Sri Lanka is one of the countries in South Asia which was and is being affected by the COVID 19 very seriously because our whole economy is depending on the global supply chain. In early March 2020, trade unions proposed the government set up a tripartite Taskforce to deal with and handle the COVID 19 related issues in the industries. That opened the gates for us to engage in social dialogue under the tripartite task force set up by the Labour Ministry. As a result, we were able to minimize the impact on the workers such as job losses, loss of income, Voluntary retirements, temporary terminations, etc at the beginning stage. But unfortunately, with time passing, we found that the government and employers are acting against the spirit of the social dialogue we engaged and especially try to use this situation to maximize the profit. Therefore, the Sri Lankan unions are seriously considering whether they should continuously engage in this social dialogue process in good faith with the employers and the government or not. As you all are aware especially the female employees from the supplier countries in Asia and the majority of them are migrant workers. Many of them lost employments, income, dignity, and even their lives. Therefore, we strongly propose that the brands and the buyers make this the primary responsibility and address those issues by supporting those workers financially and emotionally"

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