Government has created Trade Union Act General Regulations within the construction sector that will require certification applications to be made Monday to Friday, when a more representative number of employees tend to be on a worksite. The Labour Board will no longer consider a Saturday, Sunday or holiday as the date of application for purposes of certification. “Employees have a right to fair workplaces where they can have their voices heard,” said Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette, on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis. “This change is about striking the right balance and increasing the likelihood that the majority of the workforce is represented.” Currently in the construction sector, when more than 50 per cent of employees working on the date of the certification application demonstrate support, a workforce can become unionized without a vote. Weekend work is a prime example of when a smaller group of employees can trigger the unionization of a larger workforce. These changes follow consultation with stakeholders representing non-union construction contractors, unionized contractors and trade unions in the construction industry. These changes, which apply to the construction sector only, are effective immediately.
The amended list issued on Friday removes the ban on the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the British Tamil Forum (BTF), Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) and the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), among others. However, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and its leader, former LTTE negotiator V. Rudrakumaran, remain on the list as proscribed organizations and individuals.The new government, after taking office this year, said it will de-list some Tamil diaspora groups in order to seek their support to work with Sri Lanka. The government has lifted the ban on several former LTTE front groups through a gazette notification published by the Government Printer on Friday.Signed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence as the Competent Authority, the gazette notification repeals the gazette issued by the former government listing at least 15 organizations over alleged links with the LTTE. The then government raised concerns over the alleged activities of the Tamil diaspora saying they could fund another war in Sri Lanka.However, the new government said it was willing to negotiate with the diaspora and look at their concerns and work with them instead of sidelining them. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Easwaran Rutnam Gazette notice: The Mahinda Rajapaksa government banned several organizations operating on foreign soil as foreign terrorist organizations, utilising the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which was brought about by the Unites States on September 28, 2001 after the attack on the New York twin towers on September 11, 2001. The new gazette notification has also lifted the ban on the head of the Global Tamil Forum, Father S.J. Emmanuel. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera also had talks with the GTF in the presence of the Tamil National Alliance and former Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim in London this year.The GTF and other Tamil diaspora groups are to be invited to Sri Lanka to attend a diaspora festival set to be organized by the government.While most diaspora groups had welcomed the initiatives of the new government, the TGTE continues to be critical of Sri Lanka and is pushing for an Eelam State.