Sri Lanka’s Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) is one of the oldest employer organizations in Asia, at 82 years and during this period has promoted International Labour Conference (ILO) standards with the objective of balancing efficiency and equity in employment, Ravi Peiris, Director-General of the EFC told the 100th session of the ILO in Geneva last week.
Speaking as a Employer Delegate from Sri Lanka, he stressed the need for the ILO to address some fundamental issues more closely than before. “As regards adopting labour standards and making recommendations on the application of standards, it is extremely important that the ILO takes cognizance of the peculiar industrial relations cultures of each country. It is important to take into account that a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot be maintained in applying universal standards, in countries with different levels of economic development,” he said.
While noting that the EFC respects the concept of Decent Work and has already put into practice the strategic objectives that it identified in terms of Sri Lanka’s Decent Work Agenda, Mr Peiris was firmly of the view that operationalizing Decent Work is what is important. “In doing so, we need to look at the practical application of it at the level of the enterprise which is where work is performed and the employment relationship exists. A crucial requirement for promotion of Decent Work is the creation of an enabling environment for employment generation. We are glad that this year’s Global Report is focusing on the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation,” he added.
The EFC chief also highlighted the importance of the ILO focussing on assisting constituents to promote and attain the ILO standards taking into account the peculiarities and the vulnerabilities of each of these countries. “We cannot accept the application of uniform yardsticks on universal standards. There needs to be consideration of practical realities of each country in the application of universal standards,” he added.