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ILO Core Conventions in Sri Lanka

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specializedagency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues.

Org type            : UN agency
Acronyms         : ILO
Head                 : Juan Somavía
Status                : active
Established      : 1919
Headquarters   : Geneva

Website            : www.ilo.org

 One of the principal functions of the ILO is setting international labour standards through the adoption of conventions and recommendations covering a broad spectrum of labour-related subjects and which, together, are sometimes referred to as the International Labour Code. The topics covered include a wide range of issues, from freedom of association to health and safety at work, working conditions in the maritime sector, night work, discrimination, child labour, and forced labour.

Conventions

  • Adoption

Adoption of a convention by the International Labour Conference allows governments to ratify it, and the convention then becomes a treaty in international law when a specified number of governments have done so. But all adopted ILO conventions are considered international labour standards regardless of how many governments have ratified them.

 

  •  Ratification

The coming into force of a convention results in a legal obligation to apply its provisions by the nations that have ratified it. Ratification of a convention is voluntary. Conventions that have not been ratified by member states have the same legal force as do recommendations. Governments are required to submit reports detailing their compliance with the obligations of the conventions they have ratified.

  • Recommendations

Recommendations do not have the binding force of conventions and are not subject to ratification. Recommendations may be adopted at the same time as conventions to supplement the latter with additional or more detailed provisions. In other cases recommendations may be adopted separately and may address issues not covered by, or be unrelated to, any particular convention.
Eight ILO Conventions have been identified by the ILO's Governing Body as being fundamental to the rights of human beings at work, irrespective of levels of development of individual member States. These rights are a precondition for all the others in that they provide for the necessary implements to strive freely for the improvement of individual and collective conditions of work.

Freedom of association

  • Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No.87)
  • Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

The abolition of forced labour

  • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)

Equality

  • Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)

The elimination of child labour

  • Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)

Sri Lanka has ratified 31 conventions included all the above eight core conventions.


1.    Trade union rights

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No.87)

Article 2: Employees and employers shall have the right to establish union with only to the rules of the organization concerned and right to join to join to workers and employers’ organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization.

Article 3.1: workers and employers’ organizations have right to draw up their constitutions and rules, right to elect their representatives and have right to organize activities and programs.

Article 5: workers and employers’ organizations have the right to establish and join federation’s confederations.

Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

Article 1.1: Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment.

Article 1.2: Protection is respect to make the employment of a worker subject to the condition that he shall not join a union, causes the dismissal of or otherwise prejudice a worker by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities within working hours.

Article 4: Measure appropriate to national conditions shall be taken, where necessary, to encourage and promote the full development and utilisation of machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers or employees’ organisation and workers’ organisations, with a view to the regulation of terms and conditions of employment by means of collective agreements.

 

Application for Sri Lanka  

  • Right to form a trade union and become a member of a trade union

1.    Constitution, Article 14(1) (d): According to the constitution of Sri Lanka every citizen is entitled to the freedom to form and join a trade union.

2.    Industrial Disputes(Amendment) Act, No.56 of 1999, Sections 32 A (a)-(d): According to the act no employer shall forced to employee to be a member of trade union as a condition of his employment, employer can not dismiss a workman by reason only of his membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, no employer give any promise to workman for the purpose of preventing him from becoming a member/ officer or representative of a trade union and no employer prevent a workman from forming a trade union or supporting a trade union by financial or other means.

Right to engage in trade union activities

1.    Constitution ,Article 12,14(1) (a),(b) and (c): According to the Constitution of Sri Lanka Article 12 illustrate the Right to equality and Article 14 illustrate freedom of speech and expressing, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

2.    Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act, No.56 of 1999, Sections 32 A (b)-(f):
According to the act employer can not dismiss a workman by reason only of his membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, no employer give any promise to workman for the purpose of preventing him from becoming a member/ officer or representative of a trade union, no employer prevent a workman from forming a trade union or supporting a trade union by financial or other means and employer can not dismiss or take disciplinary action against any workman or officer of a trade union, if the officer or workman do it in good faith.

  • Protection against anti-union discrimination

1.    Industrial Disputes(Amendment) Act, No.56 of 1999, Sections 32 A (a)-(f):
According to the act no employer shall forced to employee to be a member of trade union as a condition of his employment, employer can not dismiss a workman by reason only of his membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, no employer give any promise to workman for the purpose of preventing him from becoming a member/ officer or representative of a trade union, no employer prevent a workman from forming a trade union or supporting a trade union by financial or other means and employer can not dismiss or take disciplinary action against any workman or officer of a trade union, if the officer or workman do it in good faith.

 

  • Collective bargaining and collective agreement

1.    Industrial Disputes(Amendment) Act, No.56 of 1999, Sections 32 A (g):
According to the act no employer refuses to bargain with a trade union which has in its membership not less than 40% of workman.

2.    Industrial Disputes Act, No.56 of 1999, and Sections 5-10: According to the act public officers’ Unions not covered.

 

  • Right to strike

1.    Trade Union Ordinance, section 2, 18(b), 26 and 27: According to the ordinance if any trade unions does not apply for registration in due time or if the registration of any trade union is refused or cancelled, then the trade union shall not or shall any of its officers on behalf of the union, take part in any trade dispute or promote, organize or finance any strike or lock-out provide pay or other benefits for its members during the strike or lock-out.

2.    Trade Union Ordinance, section 20(2) and 21: According to the ordinance an association or combination consists of Judicial Officers, Members of the armed forces, Police officers, Prison officers and the Members of any corps established under the agricultural corps ordinance can not engage to trade unions.

 

2. Elimination on forced labour


Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)

Article 3.1: According to the convention any employer can not forced or compulsory labour in all its forms within the shortest possible period.
Article 2.1: For the purposes of this Convention the term forced or compulsory labour shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered him voluntary.

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
          
Article 1: According to the Convention employer cannot make use of any form of forced or compulsory labour as a means of political coercion or education or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views ideologically opposed to the established political, social or economic system, as a method of mobilising and using labour for purpose of economic development, as a means of labour discipline, as a punishment for having participated in strikes and as a means of racial, social, national or religious discrimination.


Application for Sri Lanka  

1.    Constitution, Article 11:
No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

2.    Tundu Prohibition Ordinance, No 43 of 1921: This system was not functioning now.

3.    Penal Code (Amendment) Act, No.16 of 2006:
According to Penal Code dept bondage, serfdom, forced or compulsory labour and slavery will be criminal offence.

3.    Non Discrimination in employment

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)

Article 2.1: According to the Convention all employee (both men and women) should get equal remuneration for equal job.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

Article 2: According to the Convention all employee undertakes to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national condition and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof.

Application for Sri Lanka  

1.    Constitution, Article 12:
 According to the Constitution all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law and no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one such grounds.


2.    Wages Boards Ordinance, Section 20-32:
 This Ordinance provide the decisions of the Wades Boards such as, Minimum rates of wages, Liability of employer to pay minimum wages, Wages of worker who works for less than normal working day or does not work of all on any day, Intervals at which wages a\shall be paid, Hours of work and weekly holiday, Annual holidays, Computation of service for purpose of holidays, Determination of different rates of wages ,Publication of purposed decisions wages board, Rescission or amendment of decisions of wages board and proof decisions of wages board.

3.    Industrial Dispute Act, section 48:
This section illustrate the Industrial dispute term. If the dispute was happen the employee has right to complain to the Commissioner.

4.    Industrial Dispute Act section 17(1), 24(1) and 31C:
 According to the act there was an arbitrator or Industrial Court or Labour Tribunal for give just and equitable decisions. The sections illustrate the duties and powers of arbitrator, Industrial Courts and Labour Tribunal.

5.    Industrial dispute act, section 5-10:
 The sections define Collective Agreements, Transmission of Collective Agreements to commissioner and publication of such agreements, Date on which Collective Agreement comes into force and its duration, Effect of a Collective Agreement, Termination of a Collective Agreement and Orders in respect of  employers on whom certain Collective Agreements are not binding as provide section 8.

6.    Shop and Employees Act, No 19 of 1954, Section 18E (1) and Maternity Benefits Ordinance, No.32 of 1939, section 10A (1):
 According to the sections employment cannot be terminated because of pregnancy or confinement or of illness in consequence thereof.

7.    Penal code, section 345:
 Discuss about Sexual Harassment.

8.    Protection of the Rights of persons with Disabilities Act No.28 of 1996, Section 23(1):
This act addresses the right to accessibility under its section 23(2) and a set of approved guidelines is published by the Ministry of Social Services.

9.    Prevention of Social Disabilities Act No 21 of 1957, Section 2(1) and 3(a) (xi):

10.    Equal opportunities Bill:
 

4.    Elimination on child labour

Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)

Article 1: Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young persons.
Article 2.3: The minimum age shall not be less than 15 years.

Article 2.4: A Member whose economy and educational facilities are insufficiently developed may, after consultation with the organisations of employers and workers concerned, where such exist, initially specify a minimum age of 14 years.

Article 3.1: The minimum age for admission to any type of employment or work which by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of young person’s shall not be less than 18 years.

Article 3.3: National laws or regulations or the competent authority may, after consultation with the organisations of employers and workers concerned, where such exist, authorise employment or work as from the age of 16 years on condition that the health, safety and morals of the young person’s concerned are fully protected and that the young persons have received adequate specific instruction or vocational training in the relevant branch of activity.


Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)


Article 1: Each Member which ratifies this Convention shall take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency.
Article 2: The term “child” shall apply to all persons under the age of 18.
Article 3: The term the “worst forms of child labour” comprises, all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, The use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances,  the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs and work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.


Application for Sri Lanka  

1.    Shop and office employees (Regulation of employment and remuneration) Act, No 19 of 1954, section 10(1):
According to the act a person who has not attained the age of 14 years shall not be employed in or about the business of a shop or office.

2.    Employment of Women, Young person, and Children (Amendment Act) No.8 of 2003, section 13 and 34:
The sections explain the provisions of sanitary conveniences and washing facilities, and Employee waiting for employment on employer’s premises and company.

3.    Minimum Wages (Indian Labour) ( Amendment) act, No.25 of 2000,section 4:
4.    Penal Code(Amendment) Act, No.22 of 1995, section 286 A, 360A and 360B:
5.    Penal Code( Amendment) Act, No.29 of 1998, section 286 A (2), 288, 288 A, 288 B:
6.    Penal Code( Amendment) Act, No.16 of 200, section 358 A, 360 C:
7.    Employment of Women, Young person, and Children (Amendment Act) No.24 of 2006, section 20A:
8.    National Child Protection Authority Act No. 50 of 1998, section 39:

By: Nuwangi Wijerathne,

(Writer holds a BSc  Hons Degree in Human Resources Management ,University of Sri Jayewardenepura, as well as a Diploma in Labour Law and Industrial Relations and a Diploma in Counselling. She is currently the Human Resources Executive at a reputed IT Organization.)