23 new appointments to expedite the Industrial dispute settlements
Appointments has been made to twenty three (23) new Arbitrators to expedite the arbitration proceedings of all industrial dispute applications filed by employees and trade unions on different reasons. The Minister of Labor Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva has stated that the prolonged delay in the arbitration process is a serious injustice to the applicants. Therefore new arbitrators appointed to expedited the process and subsequently the arbitration process should be completed within the next three months hereinafter. The Minister also emphasized that instead of summoning the parties to Colombo for the relevant arbitration inquiries in future, such inquiries should be held at labor offices in areas convenient to each party. The Minister said this at a ceremony held at the Labor Department auditorium on the 12th to offer appointment letters to the new Arbitrators appointed to settle Industrial disputes. 23 new Arbitrators were appointed in this occasion.
At present there are only nineteen (19) arbitrators were already appointed. So far 220 Arbitration applications have been filed. Commissioner General of Labor Prabhath Chandrakeerthi stated that 183 of them are under investigation.
The Minister first pointed out that arbitration is a method of expeditious settlement of disputes with disputed parties in accordance with the principles of fair justice, which deviates from the traditional court system, and that arbitration should be concluded expeditiously. The Minister pointed out that the prolongation of some of these arbitration hearings would be a serious injustice to the aggrieved employees. The Minister emphasized that the reason for this was that the lawyers were constantly requesting further dates. In the future it should not continue to offer further dates like in the normal courts proceedings and the period engaged to examination in chief, cross-examine and re-examine should be preserve to a minimum. The Minister said that in an essential circumstance a minimum period of time should be given and nevertheless the relevant parties should be informed to submit all evidence and submissions in writing through affidavits.
The Minister also instructed the relevant officials to conduct these arbitrations on Saturdays and Sundays as well and provide the necessary facilities to complete the investigations expeditiously. Secretary to the Ministry Mr. Mapa Pathirana, Commissioner General of Labor Mr. Prabhath Chandrakeerthi, (Attorney-at-Law) Private Secretary to the Minister Mr. Akila Gayan Kaushalya, (Attorney-at-Law) Commisioner – Labour (Enforcement) Mr. Milanga Weerakkody, (Attorney-at-Law) Lecturer Mrs. Shyamali Ranaraja, (Attorney-at-Law) were also present at the occasion.