By Chamodi Gunawardana
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) created ‘Ethera Api Organisation’ yesterday, stressing the importance of offering pension plans and voting rights for Sri Lankan expatriates.
Its head and JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti said the JVP requested for a parliamentary committee into this issue.
“We urge the Government to provide a pension plan and voting right for all Sri Lankan foreign workers. We have collected signatures of Sri Lankan expatriates to lodge a petition from each middle-east country including Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Petitions will be handed over to each Sri Lankan embassy,” he said.
“Foreign employment is the largest source of foreign exchange to Sri Lanka. These workers have made sacrifices their whole lives to earn money, but get zero respect from their mother land. We want to create for them a good retired life,” he further stated.
Handunnetti also explained the advantages of having a Social Benefits Funds agreement between the Government and middle-eastern countries to raise an Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).
“Most foreign employers provide EPF for Sri Lankan workers, but most times our employees can’t come back with them due to a lack in regulation. The Government should sign an agreement with employers to allow those funds to flow back in to Sri Lanka,” he explained.
Handunnetti claimed that the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and all local embassies should act responsibly in this regard.
“Ministers and officials must always be on the employees’ side. They hold those positions to serve people, and not only to arrange musical shows in the middle-east,” he stressed.
Handunnetti added that the JVP expect to table proposals for the next budget as soon as possible regarding the matter.
– See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/492043/JVP-calls-for-pension-and-voting-rights-for-Sri-Lankan-expatriate-workers#sthash.UwssAL8H.dpuf