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Monday April 15th, 2024

Sri Lanka must navigate changing labour landscape: Pres

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka must consider how it will navigate the changing labour landscape of the future, the president said, adding that trade unions now need to face a different reality.

Wickremesinghe said that, there’s a transformation in the status of workers, as many have transitioned from the working class to the middle class.

“They are now referred to as trained individuals, graduates, trainees and engineers. As employees, their needs have evolved, reflecting a global trend,” President Ranil Wickremesinghe said speaking at a book launch by Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara.

Sri Lanka’s Labour movement should be modernized in line with global trends, Wickremesinghe said.

“25-30% in the Western world now work remotely, without a fixed workstation, offering flexibility in work hours. This new work paradigm is unfolding worldwide.

“It’s imperative that we consider how we will navigate this changing landscape in the future.”

“Are our trade unions embracing the digital realm? Are they adapting to forge new connections in this evolving landscape?”

Wickremesinghe pointed out that “Our trade unions predominantly originated from government employees.”

“The government played a pivotal role as it controlled industries, ports, petroleum companies and bus services. “In essence, this movement had its roots in the government.”

Sri Lanka’s trade unions, many of them comprising high-income earning public servants in higher education, medical, banking, ports and other sectors have been threatening to up the ante in ongoing trade union action against Sri Lanka’s IMF-backed reforms.

Sri Lanka’s railway unionists defied a presidential decree to continue a railway strike this month affecting thousands of commuters, even after reports that a youth affected by the strike was killed in a tragic accident.

Earlier this year a strike campaign by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) boycotting the evaluation of last year’s GCE Advanced Level candidates as part of trade union action delayed students’ results.

“Teachers and officials have their reasons, [but…] if you go to get some medicine, there is a protest there,” Uruwarige Vanniyalaeththo, the leader of the minority indigenous group, said, referring to a strike organised by the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA).

“It’s only innocent citizens that are inconvenienced by all this,” the Veddah leader said. “Young people lose two years of their lives.” (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent up from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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