Industrial Labour Relations


Labor laws of the country are applicable to all enterprises, including BOI enterprises, and the Ministry and the Department of Labor are responsible for labor administration functions, including labor law enforcement and Industrial Relations.

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka promotes and facilitates labor management co-operation and industrial harmony in the enterprises coming under its purview and towards that end, provides advisory services and guidance to employers and employees through its Industrial Relations Department.  Officers from this department will offer advisory services and guidance to employers and employees on all aspects in the area of industrial relations.  Enterprises should bring to the notice of the department any apprehended or existing disputes or problems faced by them in this area so that they could be attended to promptly with a view to speedy settlement by the appropriate authorities.

The Labor Standards and Employment Relations Manual issued by BOI lays down good Industrial Relations principles and practices and sets out the basic terms and conditions of employment to be observed by BOI enterprises operating both within and outside the Export Processing Zones of Sri Lanka.

All BOI enterprises are expected to observe the Industrial Relations principles and practices laid down in the Labor Standards and Employment Relations Manual, the provisions of the relevant labor laws and terms and conditions of employment less favorable than the basic standards set out in this Manual.  They are also required to maintain a healthy and harmonious industrial labor relations climate conducive for higher efficiency and productivity.

Services provided by the Industrial Relations Department

1) Provide Advisory Services

  • Distribution of Labor Standard & Employment Relations Manual.
  • Issuance of clarifications / opinions on IR related matters.
  • Organizing discussion / meeting / workshops for sharing the knowledge.

2) Monitor the Compliance of Labor Standards by BOI Enterprises

  • Conducting routine Labor inspection.
  • Verifying the project status prior to granting special facilitates. eg: Visas for expatriates, green channel facility etc.
  • Sharing information with liaison authorities.
  • Investigation into complaint / grievances of employees.

3) Promote Social Dialogue

  • Facilitate to form and operate the Employees’ Councils
  • Harmonizing and mediating the trade union activities.
  • Encouraging to implement ILO Core Labor Standards.

4) Facilitate to maintain productive labor force

  • Facilitate to meet the manpower requirement through job placement centers. (Job Banks)
  • Organizing the program / workshop to educate the employees on positive thinking. / Industrial Safety and Health Services etc.,
  • Encourage to offer special career development program for the employees (Eg. Foreign training)
  • Facilitate to resolve the industrial disputes speedily.
  • Establishment of Day Care Centers in EPZs for the children of EPZ employees.

The BOI is also committed to promote the application of the principles undertaking the Global Compact and related International Labor Standards by the employers in the BOI enterprises, both within and outside Export Processing Zones.  Accordingly, Labor Standards and Employment Relations in the BOI enterprises will be governed, inter alia, by the following policies and principles;

  • Respecting the right of the workers to form and join trade unions of their own choosing.
  • Respecting the right of the workers to bargain collectively through their trade unions, or in the absence of a trade union, through other organization or body consisting of their elected representatives in the workplace.
  • Affording protection to workers’ representatives and trade union officers against any act prejudicial to them, including dismissal based on their status or activities as workers’ representatives.
  • Eliminating forced or compulsory labor.
  • Abolishing child labor.
  • Eliminating discrimination in employment, occupation and remuneration against workers on such grounds as race, sex, religion, political opinion.
  • Ensuring stability in employment.
  • Providing safe and hygienic working conditions
  • Establishing appropriate machinery for consultation and co-operation between elected representatives of workers and employers on matters of mutual concern.
  • Establishing grievance procedures for the examination of workers’ grievance.
  • Offering fair wages and benefits and conditions of employment to workers.
  • Eliminating harsh and inhuman treatment of workers.
  • Eliminating excessive working hours and overtime work.
  • Affording appropriate facilitates to workers’ representatives in the undertaking to carry out their functions promptly and efficiently.
  • Formulating effective communication policy within the workplace to promote rapid dissemination and exchange of information relating to various aspects of the undertaking and to the social conditions of the workers.
  • Providing advisory services on labor and industrial relations matters to employers and employees and promoting and facilitating effective prevention and settlement of Industrial Disputes.