More than 750 employees attached to five locations of the Department of Zoological Gardens including the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala and Dehiwala struck work yesterday due to non-payment of overtime for a long time.
These employees had requested the authorities for the increase of risk allowance of Rs.5, 000 and attendance allowance of Rs. 1,500. The elephants have attacked 11 employees on several occasions from 2013 to 2018 seriously inuring four employees who are unable to work.
The Department's Employees Union Chief M.P.Dhramatillake said the employees had written to the authorities on several occasions in this regard, and the islandwide strike was inevitable due to non-response to those pleas. In response to this, the Director-General of the Dehiwala National Zoological Garden, Dhammika Malsinghe said:
“This strike is unfair. Their demands to increase the risk allowance by Rs. 5000 and attendance allowance by Rs. 1500 have been directed to the Ministry. We have been informed that after forwarding them to the Cabinet of Ministers with a report, they had been sent to the Ministry of Finance on August 19, 2019, for approval.” (Chaminda Jayalath and H.M.Dharmapala)