The hotel industry blind to new labor reforms

By Imesh Ranasinghe

The Sri Lankan hospitality industry is unaware of the proposed new law to cover workplaces with factory equipment, through which employees of hotels, bakeries and supermarkets will be covered, Sunday morning business learn.

This new law is expected to cover areas that are not covered by the current Factories Ordinance No.45 of 1942, which only provides for the regulation of workplaces registered as factories, the employment of workers and the administration of health. and the provisions relating to safety in these workplaces.

Speaking to us, Minister of Labor MPDUK Mapa Pathirana said the bill has been presented for cabinet approval, but the cabinet has decided to appoint a committee to further study the bill.

He said the committee includes officials from the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Legal Editor’s Department.

According to him, the Cabinet appointed the committee to see if there are any other discrepancies and if this is a problem with the existing Factory Ordinance, as industries cannot be penalized on both sides.

He said the new law would cover areas that are not covered by the Factories Ordinance, which includes factory equipment such as chillers and boilers in hotels.

The ministry is ensuring that laws apply on both sides, Pathirana said, adding that industries like hotels have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees in the event of an accident involving factory equipment.

Pathirana also noted that this law will encourage industries such as hotels to ensure the safety of their employees and not create any negative impact.

In addition, he said the National Labor Advisory Council – through which all labor unions, unions and industry associations are represented – unanimously approved the bill after the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Labor. Labor have had several rounds of discussions with relevant industries. .

However, when contacted, the President of the Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Sanath Ukwate, said they had not been consulted on such a new reform.

“As far as hotels are concerned, we follow very strict hygiene and safety guidelines that are compatible with European standards,” he said.

He said there had been no reported increases in accidents or anything related to areas where factory equipment is used.

Ukwate said employees in the industry are covered by workers’ compensation while their health and safety is checked monthly and quarterly by most hotels. “We have never put any of our employees at risk,” he added.

However, he noted that this is something the Association needs to discuss with the Ministry of Labor and come to a firm agreement on it.

“If it is to further protect employee safety, we will certainly welcome these measures.” Anyway, they must discuss it with us before introducing reforms, ”he added.

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Union of Inter-Company Employees (ICEU) Janaka Adikari also said that they were not invited to any discussions as such.

He said that although they had heard of such a reform, they had not been officially invited to speak about it. He also said that no such thing had been said at the meetings of the National Labor Advisory Council.

Moreover, when contacted, General Labor Commissioner Prabath Chandrakeerthi also denied any knowledge of any such reform.

However, talk to The morning in March 2021, he said the new law would cover places like hotels, bakeries and supermarkets that use equipment like boilers and take into account aspects of employee well-being in the workplace.

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