Sri Lankan unions stand up against violation of ILO core conventions

The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU) was a driving force in forming the new Trade Union Confederation (TUC) of Sri Lanka. This was an act of strengthening workersí solidarity and power across sectors, but also an act of insubordination towards illegal restrictions of the Freedom of Association in Sri Lankan labour law, prohibiting the formation of federations between unions of the private sector and unions of the public sector.

The newly formed TUC launched a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), because the verdict against the formation of public-private union federations is a massive violation of ILO core conventions 87 and 98 (Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining). Sri Lanka has ratified both conventions, which was a prerequisite for Sri Lankan economy to obtain the status of privileged access to important EU markets (GSP+).

The ILO has meanwhile announced that they follow the TUCís argumentation; it has asked the government of Sri Lanka to remove the restricting paragraphs from its labour law.

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