The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union said that the EU delegation had met workers who faced labour rights violations, including harassment to trade unions, illegal dismissal of trade union leaders, sexual harassment and labour rights violations within the Free Trade Zones.
The Fact Finding Mission, which included Members of the European Parliament Anne-Marie Mineur and Lola Sánchez Caldentey, visited Sri Lanka to assess the country’s progress on human and labour rights.
Anne-Marie Mineur said that it is the Government´s obligation to effectively guarantee the fundamental rights of workers and their trade unions.
“Collective bargaining and the right to strike should be an integral part of this,” she said, according to the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union.
Lola Sánchez Caldentey said that the European Union will not grant a special trade status to Sri Lanka if the money coming from this advantage remains only in the pockets of a few businessmen.
The European Union will decide next month if Sri Lanka is duly entitled, or not, to be granted GSP plus. This status is a component of the EU policy for developing countries which offers trade incentives to those which implement core international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.
“In 2015 we received with satisfaction the commitment of the Sri Lanka Government to put in place legislation to address Human Rights violations.However the implementation of that legislation remains very questionable,” Anne-Marie Mineur said.
After more than ten meetings the delegates had, Lola Sánchez Caldentey concluded that “if the European Union consumers knew the abusive conditions under which the women do the cloth that they buy, they would be ashamed”.
The delegation also met the Minister of Labour John Seneviratne and raised their serious concerns regarding labour rights in the country. (Colombo Gazette)