President’s message to Sri Lankan expatriate workers

Wednesday, 08 July 2020 - 18:41

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressed a global summit of the International Labour Organization today (08) on the Covid-19 and the world of work.

Here, the president commended action taken by all countries to maintain the working world uninterrupted.

Noting that the Covid-19 would probably create the most powerful human crisis in the present-day world, he said the working world was equally being transformed in both the developed and developing countries in the post-pandemic period.

Sri Lanka being a developing economy sensitive to outside benchmarks, special attention will be paid to safeguard its workforce from the tremors of the pandemic on the global economy, he said.

Of an 8.6 million active workforce, nearly 3.5 million are in the private sector.

The social security measures introduced at the beginning of the pandemic have covered every sector of the workforce, the president said.

The worst affected segments were given a monthly Rs. 5,000 allowance during April and May, to mainly cover daily wage workers, preschool teachers and the self-employed.

With a sizeable workforce working outside the country, nearly 15,000 were repatriated even during flight bans.

This changed the employed structure, but the intention was to protect their lives.

This category in the workforce has the opportunity to contribute to the local labour market without returning to their foreign jobs, said the president.

A rethinking on the skilled category to suit the post-pandemic period is required, he said, adding that empowering those who lost their jobs and organizing employee skills will be achieved.