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A Consular Mobile Service organized by Sri Lanka High Commission in Britain

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 19:09 Written by Administrator Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London held a full day mobile service at Hazel Wick School in Crawley on 15th April 2012 to provide consular services to the Sri Lankan community living in Crawley area. The services included registration of births, renewal of passports, issuance of temporary travel documents, acceptance of applications for new passports and various other consular services.

 

This was organized under the guidance of Mr. Chaminda Kularatne (Attorney-at-Law) Head of the Consular and Immigration Division of the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London and at the request of "Sri Lanka Muslim Diaspora Initiative UK" Association, which is spread across Britain

 

A large number of Sri Lankans from all communities: Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims from Crawley and its vicinity took part at this occasion. While this is a part of a wider  programme to take  High Commission's services direct to the Sri Lankan community, the High Commission intends to continue similar events in other parts of Britain in the future.

 

Dr. Chris Nonis, High Commissioner, Mr. M. R. K. Lenagala, Deputy High Commissioner and Mr. M. K. Pathmanaathan, Head of the Public Relations Division took part in the event. The staff of the Consular and Immigration Division of the High Commission volunteered their services to make the event a success.

 

 

High Commission of Sri Lanka

London

 

17 April 2012

 

High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

13, Hyde Park Gardens

London W2 2LU

United Kingdom

Tel        : 020 72621841

Fax       : 020 72627970

Email    : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

PROTEST AGAINST NAPLIN TISSUE WIPES PRINTED WITH A BUDDHA IMAGE SOLD BY LIDL

Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 20:46 Written by Administrator Friday, 11 May 2012 20:43

Dear All,

I wish to share the following email from Ven Witharandeniye Kassapa Thero of Birminham Maha Vihara, as an outstanding achievement in response to issue of using images of Our Lord Buddha for inappropriate commercial uses. In this case, the company has apologize and confirmed the withdrawal of the product from sale.

we should be grateful to Gordon Turner (Media Officer of BBMV), Venerable Witharandeniye Kassapa Thero (Head of BBMV). I must also be grateful to Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Mr Sisira Chandrasiri, Mr Tissa Madawale, Mr Bandula Manage (Sesatha Web) and Mr Daya Ananda Ranasinghe (Lanka Vitti) for immediate support and communication to get this through. We also grateful to Lidl Comapany for sending few of us their confirmation and responding to the issue eventually with a satisfactory outcome.

I am so grateful to our member who informed this issue to us. Big thank you to all those who helped by many means.

May the triple Gem Bless you!
with metta,
Venerable Akurala Samitha

 


Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya

 

Raffle Tickets Drawn In Janahada New Year Festival

Written by Administrator Wednesday, 09 May 2012 07:38

This is to bring to the notice of all participants of the above festival held in Lambert School, in Hounslow 14/04/2012,Lodon,by the Sri Lanka Janahanda Foundation, that the winning tickets drawn on the same day, have not produced their identity and wining numbers so far. Therefore the committee requests the winners to produce their identity and numbers before 8th,June,2012.

Please Find the winning numbers as follows

1st _ 084297 -   Return Air Ticket To Colombo By Sri Lankan Airline

2nd – 084665 -     One Night With Bed and Breakfast In Hotel Marriott in Heathrow

3rd ­­­­­­­­­­­­­– 084357 -      One T Chest Box---Free Shipment To Sri Lanka by DUNN-shipping LTD

Organizing Committee For Janahanda

 
 

Concerns over Olympic clothes factory in Lanka

Written by Editor1 Monday, 07 May 2012 08:42

Official Olympic clothing sold by Next is claimed to have been produced in sweatshop conditions in Sri Lanka. The allegation comes days after the high street chain unveiled the formal outfits that Team GB will wear at the opening ceremony.

Workers at the company’s factory in Sri Lanka allegedly receive poverty wages and are forced to work excessive overtime and to meet unrealistic, ever-increasing targets. Next denies the claims – which undermine pledges that the 2012 Games will be the most ethical yet – but has launched an investigation into conditions at the factory.

The claims emerged in a wider investigation into Olympic brands that found “widespread abuse of the human rights of workers” in eight factories around the world. Research by the Playfair 2012 campaign also cited allegations of mistreatment of staff working for the sportswear manufacturer Adidas in the Philippines and China.

Next’s Sri Lanka factory employs 2,500 people making, among other items, London 2012-branded jackets, blazers, shorts and T-shirts. Employees claim they are routinely forced to work 60 hours of overtime a month.

Staff also claim they have no contracts and frequently face being laid off with no notice, with management threatening to sack them if they join a union. Workers who have protested were victimised, researchers found.

Typical wages for working 12-hour days were found to be about 12,000 Sri Lankan rupees a month (£58). Other abuses cited included agency staff made to work for 18 hours at a stretch – day shifts at the Next factory, followed by overnight shifts in a different factory next door. Such workers also say that their wages are often paid irregularly. Playfair says there is evidence that staff are deliberately recruited from poor areas to ensure an illiterate and compliant workforce.

Playfair’s research into Olympic supply chains examined eight factories in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and China, with 175 workers interviewed.

In China, workers for Adidas in Guangdong province complained of regularly having to work overtime above the legal maximum, with 8am to 10pm shifts not uncommon. They reported not wearing the necessary safety masks to protect them from dust because they were so fearful of missing production targets.

Adidas employees in the Philippines said that pay rates were so low that at least half the workforce were forced to go to loan sharks in order to survive. They also said they were told that overtime was compulsory. In one Philippines factory, poor ventilation caused respiratory problems among garment workers.

None of the factories surveyed permitted union membership. At factories producing items for Adidas in China, workers were apparently told that agitating to improve conditions would result in immediate dismissal.

The report will add pressure on London 2012 organisers. Last month The Independent revealed claims that Adidas Olympic kit was manufactured in Indonesian sweatshops. Next is supplying outfits for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies as well as formal suits for Team GB and Paralympic GB. It will also supply 4,500 uniforms for officials, as well as soft furnishings and bed linen for the athletes’ village.

Anna McMullen, of campaign group Labour Behind the Label, said: “When respected British brands like Next are supplying uniforms, you’d hope to see this respect mirrored in the production of the kit. Yet, paid £50 a month and exploited by labour contractors, these workers live in poverty. Next must take action to ensure workers have rights and wages that allow a life of dignity.”

Anton Marcus, joint general secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Union in Sri Lanka, said: “They don’t pay a living wage and they set these terrible targets, which, when reached, are automatically increased. Similarly, overtime, which should be voluntary, is compulsory for 60 hours a month. This is forced labour.”

A spokesman for Next rebutted the Playfair allegations. Next insisted they were “categorically not true” in the case of staff workers at the factory and “almost certainly not true in respect of any temporary worker, either”. Next said those employed directly by the company were paid 50 per cent more than the Sri Lankan minimum wage, which stands at 6,750 rupees (£33) a month.

A spokeswoman for Adidas said: “The Adidas Group is fully committed to protecting worker rights and to ensuring fair and safe working conditions in factories throughout our global supply chain. As part of that commitment, Adidas Group has been engaging in an open and constructive dialogue with Playfair for the past 10 years.”

Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: “It cannot be right that with the huge amounts of money to be made by the International Olympic Committee and the brands that secure the lucrative Olympic sponsorship deals, the people producing the goods to be worn by sports fans, athletes and Olympic officials are earning a pittance, working excessively long hours and can’t even join a union to push for better conditions.

“We’re presenting the IOC with clear evidence as to what is going wrong. Now it’s over to them to act to prevent similar abuses happening in the run-up to Rio 2016.”

A spokesman for LOCOG, the organising committee for the Games, said: “We have gone further than any other major event organiser in ethical sourcing and supply management, which has been recognised in this report.”

He added: “We take these allegations extremely seriously and have asked our independent monitor to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review. The outcome of this will be made public as soon as it is concluded. We have also spoken to Adidas and Next, who have assured us that they have launched an immediate investigation into these claims.”

Life in the factories

Kasun, 33, is employed in Next’s Sri Lanka factory ironing clothes every day from 7am to 6pm. He has been working on Olympic-branded clothes.

“I have been working at this factory for the past 11 years. My salary is about 12,000 Sri Lankan rupees a month [£58], which is very difficult to manage on with a child, so I am compelled to work overtime. Due to the hardship of our economy, my wife is also working in a garment factory and our child is with his grandparents, far from the boarding house [200km away] where I and my wife are living. Most of the time we get the chance to see our child only once a month. We would like to live with our kid but our economy and this environment is not suitable for a child. I joined a strike over a wage increase in 2008 and the company suspended about 100 workers, including me. In that period I did some odd jobs to protect my family and after three months I was called back to work. But eight workers are still out of employment.”

Sachini ,30, is a sewing machine operator in the same factory. She works from 7am to 7pm and produces Olympic-branded garments, among other items.

“I have been working in this factory for the past 12 years. In this company they set targets unilaterally, and sometimes it is difficult to reach them; we feel they are increasing them day to day. [When targets are not met, staff are forced to stay on and work overtime.]

“My village is in the dry zone of the country and I belong to an agricultural family. When my father died, I came to the [manufacturing] zone to give some support to my family, especially for the education of my younger sister.

“Once I came to the zone I fell in love and got married. We lived in a private boarding house with minimum facilities and privacy. After one year my husband eloped with another worker whose living space adjoined ours and I become helpless. I was not in a position to go back to my village.

“I am still helping my family and am now legally divorced. I feel so sad and intend to go back to my village soon.”

Bhagya, 35, an ironing operator, works from 7am to 7pm.

“I came to this factory with my sister. Since our salary is not sufficient to manage on, we are compelled to work overtime. At the end of the day we feel so tired and only have time to cook our dinner and go to bed.

“Even though I have worked here for 12 years I don’t have any savings – once I have spent money on food and lodging, nothing is left. This factory treats managers and workers in two different ways: they provide transport for managers but not for the workers.” (The Independent)

Names have been changed to protect workers’ identities.

http://colombogazette.com/concerns-over-olympic-clothes-factory-in-lanka/

 

NO CHANGE TO ANNUAL LIMIT FOR SKILLED WORKERS SHOWS UK IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Written by Administrator Tuesday, 01 May 2012 19:32

Demonstrating that the brightest and the best migrants are welcome to the UK, the annual limit on skilled workers from outside the EU who can work in the UK will remain at 20,700 for the next two years, Immigration Minister, Damian Green announced yesterday.

Building on the success of the first full year of operation, the government has listened to businesses and maintained the numerical limit at the same level until April 2014. This will give companies greater certainty and consistency to make plans for the future.

Immigration Minister, Damian Green said:

'The government has been clear that the UK is open for business and our limit has been designed with the industry's needs in mind.

'The limit, which is undersubscribed, has not stopped a single skilled worker from coming to the UK. We believe there is no incompatibility between economic growth and controlling migration - our reformed, more selective immigration system can achieve both.”

The skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK will increase from a minimum of NQF level 4 to NQF level 6. This means that a number of middle-management jobs such as IT technicians and security managers will no longer be open to migrant workers. However, highly-skilled occupations such as architects, teachers and chemical engineers will still be available.

From 14 June 2012, there will be some relaxation in the operation of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). Jobs paying a salary above £70,000 and PhD level jobs will no longer have to be advertised in ‘JobCentrePlus’ in the UK, provided they are advertised in a suitable trade journal. They may also be advertised internationally, to ensure that the best candidate is selected. In addition, there will be an extension to the period for which the RLMT can be regarded as satisfied, from 6 months to 12 months for PhD level occupations, reflecting the longer cycle of academic recruitment.  

These reforms will continue to underpin increasing selectivity in the UK’s immigration system, with support for the entry of the brightest and the best workers, and restrictions on access by less skilled workers.

Prospective workers will still need to have a graduate level job, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements. Those earning a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the numerical limit.

The government has already made the routes for investors and entrepreneurs more attractive and accessible, with an accelerated path to settlement. These routes continue to grow, with numbers attracted to the UK more than doubling in the past year.

These changes for skilled workers are part of the UK government’s radical overhaul of the immigration system to bring immigration levels back down to sustainable levels whilst ensuring support for the brightest and best migrants. The government has already reformed the student, settlement and working routes. By the summer 2012 the government will also have also announced changes to family migration routes, following its consultation.

A new Premium Customer Service for business sponsors in the UK has also been launched this week. This service has been developed to offer companies that sponsor international workers a dedicated contact point within the UK Border Agency in the UK and guaranteed access to premium services. This is an optional package of benefits which will mean a more responsive service for both large corporations, as well as small and medium sized business, who can also apply for greater support.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

1.   Further details of yesterday’s announcement are set out in the published Statement of Intent, available at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/immigration/changes-tier-two/

2.   In October 2011 the government asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise at what level the limit on Tier 2 (General) migration should be set from April 2012. The MAC was also asked to consider some associated policies. The MAC published its report on 28 February 2012 and this is available at: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/workingwithus/mac/limit-tier2-settle/tier2-limit-report

  1. The current 20,700 limit on non-EU skilled workers will be extended until April 2014. The government will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the limit for 2014/15 in the summer of 2013.

 

  1. From 14 June 2012 the government will raise the minimum skills level from NQF4+ to NQF6+ for Tier 2 (General) and Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) applications, with an exemption for those on the shortage occupation list and certain creative occupations. A full list of qualifying occupations by Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) can be found in the annex to the Statement of Intent in (1). The government will commission the MAC to assess the impact of the rise in the skills level on net migration and growth when they next assess the Tier 2 limit in 2013. There will be no change at present to the salary thresholds or allowances rules in the ICT route.

 

  1. The Premium Customer Service (PCS) for sponsors in the UK will be open for applications from Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors on 6 April 2012. All A-rated Tier 2 and 5 sponsors who meet the eligibility criteria; pay a fee; and pass a UK Border Agency compliance audit are eligible to apply for Premium Customer Service. Sponsors who paid a lower fee for their most recent sponsor licence are also eligible for a targeted benefit package for a smaller fee with our SME+ Service.  Further information is available at:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/points/sponsoringmigrants/premium/

 
 

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