May 30, 2011 (LBO) – A proposed controversial ‘pension’ bill to strengthen state control over forced retirement savings of private sector workers will not apply to export industrial zones, the government said as protesters and police were injured in clashes. Sri Lanka has had three armed uprisings in the past four decades where tens of thousands of people have been killed. In Sri Lanka state workers and rulers get pensions without contributions and rulers have thwarted an earlier attempt to create a contributory pension fund for the state workers.
An existing pension fund where money is deducted from private sector workers is managed by the state.
Union leaders, financial professionals, public interest activists have questioned the most draconian parts of the proposed bill including plans to confiscate contributions made for less than 10 years.
The most badly affected would be women workers who work for a few years and withdraw from the factory floor to get married.
The government’s information office quoting the labour minister said Monday the proposed pension law will not apply workers in so-called “free trade zones” or export processing areas.
Reports said 15 workers and 9 policemen were hospitalized in clashes during protests.