Trade unions of Sri Lanka’s essential services threaten island wide strike demanding 45 percent pay hike

Jan 13, Colombo: A coalition of trade unions, affiliated to Sri Lanka’s essential services of electricity, water and fuel, threaten to launch an island wide strike demanding a pay hike higher than what the government has offered.

Trade unions affiliated to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) say a massive demonstration would be held in Colombo on the 18th with the participation of workers from all parts of the country if the government fails to print the gazette announcing a salary hike of 45 percent to the employees in these three sectors.

Trade unions of Sri Lanka Ports Authority have also expressed solidarity, said the trade unions leaders after a discussion held in Colombo yesterday. The trade unions expect to bring in 8,000 employees to Colombo for the demonstration on the 18th.

Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Thursday that CEB, CPC and NWSDB employees will be given a salary increase of 32 percent which includes the 18 percent pay hike in basic salary and a monthly incentive payment of Rs. 2,500.

Spokesman of the trade union coalition of Ceylon Electricity Board Ranjan Jayalal says that they reject the pay hike proposed by the government and begin trade union action once the relevant circular is issued.

Jayalal said the unions decided to give the government time till midnight Thursday to decide on

addressing the demand made by the workers.

The spokesman says that it is fair to demand a salary increase of 45 percent at 15 percent a year for three years since the employees of these sectors get pay raises once in every three years.

He noted that the workers would be pushed to a continuous island wide strike if the government continues to act in an arbitrary manner.

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