Public sector trade unions in Sri Lanka demand legal changes to trade union laws to lobby under a common front. Public sector trade unions in Sri Lanka demand legal changes to trade union laws to lobby under a common front. Sri Lanka’s public sector contains around 800 trade unions but trade unions say they are restricted by law, from joining together.
“There are legal restrictions on public sector unions with regards to their right to federate and confederate,” says the General Secretary, Confederation of Public Service Independent Trade Unions (COPSITU), Adhikari Jayaratne.
The State sector employs over 12 percent of Sri Lanka’s total employed workforce with over one million workers.
But only workers below the staff officer category – the highest grade of public servants receiving initial salaries of over Rs 78,000 per year – are allowed to unionise under Sri Lanka’s Trade Union Ordinance.
While grades below staff officer category, that accounts for the majority public sector employees, are allowed to unionise, these trade unions are allowed to link together only within their own work