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Friday, July 19, 2024

Sri Lanka: Members of over 200 TUs to fall sick today

Over 200 trade unions, representing a large number of services within the State, semi-State, and provincial sectors, have initiated a sick note campaign today (8) and tomorrow (9).

These trade unions include the All-Ceylon Public Management Assistant Officers’ Association, Development Officers’ Service Association, Samurdhi Development Officers’ Union, Sri Lanka Grama Niladhari Association and Higher Education Service Employees’ Union.

However, the principals’ trade union stated that they will not be absent from their duties in schools today (8). Instead, they will report to work wearing black attire instead of the usual white, in support of the trade union action. Additionally, they plan to hold a protest in Colombo on Wednesday (10).

The teachers’ unions will participate in the sick note campaign only tomorrow (9).

According to Chandana Sooriyaarachchi, the co-convener of the State and Provincial Public Service Unions’ Collective, these trade unions will withdraw from all services by reporting sick leave over these two days. He stated that the unions are taking this action based on several demands, including the provision of a Rs 25,000 allowance regardless of service grade.

Sooriaarachchi explained that the economic pressure caused by the increased cost of living and higher tax burden has led to the Rs 25,000 allowance being limited to executive grade officers in the public service. He emphasized that the Government has failed to consider all sectors of State, semi-government, and provincial services, as well as pensioners, who are also affected by the rising cost of living and tax burden.

As a result, he asserted that the allowance of Rs 25,000 should be extended to other public sector employees, ensuring that non-executive service employees receive the same allowance as their executive service counterparts.

He added that if the government does not take appropriate action, the trade unions will intensify their professional actions.

However, President Ranil Wickremesinghe is in a firm stance that Public sector employees will not receive another salary increase this year, as Sri Lanka prepares for Presidential and General elections.

Addressing the workshop to empower the community Police officers in Uva Province, the President, while acknowledging the strain on the economy, noted that previous programmes offering increased benefits and allowances had depleted available funds. He highlighted the Rs 10,000 salary increase and additional benefits introduced through the ‘Aswasuma’ programme.

Emphasising fiscal responsibility, the President cautioned that further salary increases without careful planning could adversely impact government finances.

Highlighting the upcoming elections, he stressed that prioritising national stability is the most important at the moment.

The President announced the establishment of a committee tasked with reviewing salary adjustments. Their recommendations will be considered for inclusion in the 2025 budget, potentially leading to salary increases next year.

He assured that his administration’s approach aims to ultimately benefit the people. Stressing the importance of focusing on the upcoming elections, he suggested that other parties may not prioritise economic stability as effectively.


Methmalie Dissanayake Ceylon Today.


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