More place for skilled workers abroad

Legislation is soon to be passed in Parliament preventing unskilled workers seeking jobs abroad, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said.
According to the minister attempts are being made to discourage unskilled workers going abroad as they are increasingly being ill treated by their employers, which the minister says has caused immense pain of mind.
He said the minimum age to go abroad as workers was raised from 18 to 21 and added next year this would be further raised to 30. He said this move was mainly aimed at ‘discouraging’ unskilled workers going abroad and suffering.
He said plans are underway to send only semi skilled and skilled workers abroad and Sri Lanka will no longer be sending domestic workers to work in the Middle East and few other countries.
The minister said that he was all out to liberalise this sector and give them the opportunity to work abroad.

Justice Sriskandarajah, new CA Chief

Justice S. Sriskandarajah PC has been appointed president of the Court of Appeal (CA).
The appointment was made by the Parliamentary Council (PC) that met late last week. Prior to his appointment Justice Sriskandarajah was a judge of the Court of Appeal.
According to national list parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer who is a member of the PC, the council also appointed Dhammika Kitulgoda as the secretary to the PC.
Azwer said Kitulgoda will function also as the secretary general of parliament while helping the PC in his new capacity as the secretary.
He said appointments to most of the independent commissions have been completed by the PC and added commissioners to the Delimitation Commission is yet to be appointed, which he said would be done in due course.

Govt. proposal shelved?

A proposal to bring four local bodies under one authority by the government is shelved, according to government sources.
Sources said the government has so far not indicated reasons but added certainly there is no discussion or any related programme to further push for the implementation of this proposal.
Meanwhile, they said that elections to these four councils is expected to be held only in December while polls to the balance 14 councils could be held in September this year. The government postponed polls to 18 local bodies earlier.
The four councils the government is hoping to hold polls in December are Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura, Dehiwela and Kolannawa.

13th plus is best says Dilan

Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera says 13th Amendment is the only way forward to settle the ongoing strife in the country.
The minister who is a strong advocator of the 13th Amendment says even if the entire country rejects this form of devolution, he will stick to his conviction.
He said he believed in 13 plus and added it could either be 13 plus or 13 minus one plus two. “Either way, I think this is the only package that could solve the problems if this is meaningfully implemented,” he added.
He also said though a solution to the national question cannot be found without the TNA, the government should not consider the TNA as the sole representatives of the Tamils. “This is what the LTTE said. I want the government to also talk to EPDP and other responsible Tamil political parties,” he said.

Unions irked over increase of tasks to workers

Plantation trade unions are up in arms against a decision of some of the managing companies to increase the norms and tasks of the workers during holidays.
Convener for the National Plantation Workers Federation (NPWF) V. Puththirasigamoney said his union is constantly receiving complaints from the workers that their tasks are raised when they worked during off days.
According to him if on a working day a worker is expected to pluck 15 to 16 kilos of tea, some of the management companies are raising this quantum to 20 to 24 kilos on a holiday.
He said just because workers are paid one and a half day’s wage during off days, it does not mean the management should increase the norms and tasks. “This is a serious infringement of the workers’ rights. If a worker is willing to work during an off day that means he should be paid extra. This is the privilege he/she enjoys. But is it fair for the management to increase the tasks? If that is the case what is the point in that exercise?” he asked.
He said if the situation continues, then a strong action would be considered.

Ravi thanks Chamal, Gota

United National Party (UNP) National Organiser Ravi Karunanayake has thanked Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa for taking prompt action to prevent CID questioning him over statements made in Parliament.
Karunanayake was summoned by the CID following a statement he made in Parliament regarding drug barons and their activities. Though he was summoned Karunanayake refused to go.
However, when this was informed the Speaker had summoned the CID chief to his office and had warned him not to repeat this.
Karunanayake said he was thankful to the Speaker, the police and including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for standing by him at this time.
“This clearly shows that there are some who are backing drug barons and their menace to the society. I only raised the issue about drug dealers and I don’t understand why anybody should get offended,” he said.