Garu Saru initiates dialogue with three-wheeler drivers
The Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment on Wednesday (8) launched the second phase of the Garu Saru initiative, a groundbreaking program aimed at enhancing the safety and dignity of Informal Sector Workers (ISW) across the country.
This phase commenced with a significant and exclusive public consultation session focused solely on engaging three-wheeler drivers, a crucial and often underrepresented segment of the ISW.
This targeted approach underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to
understanding and addressing the unique perspectives and challenges faced by this essential workforce.
The event brought together three-wheeler drivers from diverse backgrounds for an interactive and engaging session with Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara. During this discussion, three-wheeler drivers openly shared their concerns, insights, and aspirations regarding the improvement of professionalism within their field.
The meeting served as a platform for these drivers to voice their specific needs and challenges, fostering a collaborative environment for dialogue and collective problem-solving.
In his address, Minister Manusha Nanayakkara emphasized the significance of this exclusive consultation with three-wheeler drivers. He reiterated the government’s primary objective to extend the Garu Saru program, which aims to provide social security benefits, skills development programs, and occupational health and safety training, to the ISW.
“Our main objective is to extend this program to those employed in the informal sector”, Minister Nanayakkara stated. “We are working diligently to create a conducive environment for every profession and have a plan to support them in their old age”.
Minister Nanayakkara further emphasized that the government’s aim is to raise the standards and recognition of individuals in all sectors. This inclusive approach ensures that every individual, regardless of their employment status, has the opportunity to receive the recognition they deserve.
Addressing concerns regarding the Employee Provident Fund, Minister Nanayakkara clarified that the government’s intention is not to harm the Fund but rather to extend its benefits to informal sector workers.
He assured the public that the government’s overarching goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone during their retirement years, regardless of their employment status.
Recognizing the absence of a dedicated association for three-wheeler drivers, Minister Nanayakkara highlighted the significance of this consultation in fostering professionalism within the sector. He emphasized the importance of empowering three-wheeler drivers to have a say in determining their future, allowing them to shape their profession and address the challenges they face collectively.
Currently, there is no association dedicated to the welfare and promotion of professionalism among three-wheeler drivers, Minister Nanayakkara noted. That’s why we have decided to hold this consultation. The sole purpose of this event is to enhance their professionalism and allow them to determine what is best for themselves.
He noted that he firmly believes that three-wheeler drivers make a significant contribution to the country’s economy and deserve recognition and support for their unwavering commitment to society.
There is a lot of criticism leveled against three-wheeler drivers Minister Nanayakkara acknowledged. Some people unfairly associate them with illegal activities, but the reality is different. In my view, three-wheeler drivers work tirelessly to make ends meet, and society unfairly blames them for many of the societal issues. I firmly believe that three-wheeler drivers work diligently and make a significant contribution to the economy.
Garu Saru initiative represents a significant step forward in addressing the needs of informal sector workers in Sri Lanka.
The exclusive consultation with three-wheeler drivers underscores the government’s dedication to understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by this essential workforce.
The insights shared during this discussion will contribute to the development of policies and programs aimed at enhancing the safety, dignity, and professionalism of three-wheeler drivers and other informal sector workers.
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