About the Event
The Solidarity Center recently conducted an informal survey of working conditions in Jaffna, capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, to better understand workers’ awareness of their rights and the benefits of the country’s labor code, which sets a minimum wage, limitations on daily working hours, and rules pertaining to overtime and benefits. Survey results indicate that the vast majority of workers in Jaffna are unaware of their statutory rights, with many working in low-paid jobs that have minimal labor standards, social protection, and security of tenure. The Solidarity Center report, Workers in Post-Civil War Jaffna: A Snapshot of Working Conditions, Opportunities and Inequalities in Northern Sri Lanka, highlights employment issues and gaps that exist in Jaffna and, by extension, the Northern and Eastern provinces, which require urgent attention in order to grow the country’s economy and address the inequities that have the potential to stoke social conflict.
The Solidarity Center’s Asia Regional Program Director Tim Ryan will discuss the survey findings and their implications on promoting decent work and creating sustainable livelihoods. The Solidarity Center anticipates that the report will assist stakeholders – unions, employers, the Sri Lankan government, nongovernmental organizations, and donor agencies – in efforts to advance the protection and promotion of labor policies and practices in the post-civil war economic and social development of Jaffna and beyond.
Asia Regional Program Director, Solidarity Center
Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy
About the Speakers
Tim Ryan joined the Solidarity Center’s predecessor Asian institute in 1989. Since 2001, he has directed all Solidarity Center programs for Asia, including offices in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He served as the organization’s field representative in Sri Lanka (1993-97) and Indonesia (1997-2001), where he began work on migrant workers’ and anti-trafficking issues. He serves on the board of the Global March against Child Labor and on the steering committee of the National Writers Union, Washington, D.C., chapter.
Mona Dave is a Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for Democracy handling grant portfolios in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Burma.
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photo: UN Photo/Sebastian Rich