A coalition of trade unions, affiliated to Sri Lanka’s essential services of electricity, water and fuel, threaten to launch an islandwide 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 18 January 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 per cent 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 18 January.
Cabinet Spokesman Min-ister Keheliya Rambukwella on said Thursday that CEB, CPC and NWSDB employees will be given a salary increase of 32 per cent which includes an 18 per cent 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 said that they rejected the pay hike proposed by the Government and would begin trade union action once the relevant circular was 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 said it was fair to demand a salary increase of 45 per cent at 15 per cent 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 islandwide strike if the Government continues to act in an arbitrary manner.