By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Our Lobby Correspondent
Public Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne yesterday rejected charges of putting out 1,500 employees as a part of the privatisation deal of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) which took place in 2003.
According to Deputy Minister, a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) was moved during the privatisation. “A VRS was moved during the privatisation. Certain employees accepted the offer. They were not forced to take up the VRS,” said Wickramaratne, who confirmed a 10% benefit that employees are entitled to when an institution is sold through the Public Enterprises Reforms Commission, which was also given.
“Those who took the VRS option were given 10% shares or the value of the shares. But we will look into this matter now if you say there is an illegality in the way the employees were removed,” he added.
However, Opposition lawmaker Vijitha Herath held the privatisation prevented the SLIC workers from working till 60 years. “A special circular enabled SLIC workers to work after 55 years. They were the people who lost jobs after the privatisation. They only received pittance as part of retirement compensation. This is not adequate. The Government should take action to adequately compensate those who lost jobs.”