‘Priority was safety of life, not overall employment profile’ | Daily News


President tells ILO Global Summit:

‘Priority was safety of life, not overall employment profile’

Although the repatriation of Sri Lankan workers from abroad in the wake of COVID-19 spread made a considerable change to our overall employment profile, our aim was to secure the lives of our workforce, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

“Sri Lanka has a considerable workforce that is employed outside the country. Even during the period when restrictions for air travel were in force, we have repatriated nearly 15,000 Sri Lankans from destinations abroad so far,” President said addressing ILO Global Summit on “COVID-19 and the World of Work-Building a Better Future of Work” yesterday (8).

The Summit hosted by the International Labour Organization commenced on July 1 will continue till July 9. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyses and several world leaders addressed the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments.

Participants discuss on how to address the economic and social impact of the pandemic, which has laid bare the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises.

The Global Summit examines a range of issues, including how to promote full and productive employment in this new environment, what needs to be done to address the massive vulnerabilities in the world of work made evident by the pandemic, which workers require particular support and attention, how to position the reduction and elimination of poverty as central objectives of the recovery process and how the international community can come together with real common purpose and rededicate itself to the delivery of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

The President said he appreciates the efforts that all countries have taken for smooth sailings of their ‘Worlds of Work’ at this sensitive period when we all are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 posed us with perhaps the greatest human crisis in the modern period. As a result, the ‘World of Work’ is undergoing a massive reorganization in the post COVID-19 period in developed as well as developing countries alike,”he said.

Explaining the Sri Lankan context the President said particular attention was paid to safeguard our workforce from the shock wave that was created by the impact that this pandemic had on the global economy.

“We have an active labour force of 8.6 million, out of which, the private sector employs nearly 3.5 million.The social security measures that we introduced during the COVID outbreak covered all sectors of this workforce,”he said.


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