The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union today urged the government to immediately gazette a new Colombo Consumers Price Index as employers have resorted to using ad-hoc methods at determining wage increments in the absence of a fixed price index.
The Union’s General Secretary Bala Tampoe said the Department of Census and Statistics which came under the Finance Ministry was responsible for calculating the index.
“The cost of living index should be gazetted every month. However the Finance Ministry is dodging the matter and is yet to address this problem,” Mr. Tampoe said.
The Colombo Consumers Price Index rose from 100 in 1952 to 7043 in 2009.
“This shows that inflation has risen by more than 70 percent,” he said and added that however the government had stopped making calculations based on the index and instead introduced a new index in 2002.
According to the index introduced in 2002, inflation rose to 213 in December 2009. The government later introduced a third index which was calculated since 2007 according to which inflation was 151 in May 2011.
“Collective agreements for wage increments between unions and employers were based on the index introduced in 1952 and not the two indices that were introduced thereafter. Since the first index was removed in 2009 there has been no proper method of gauging wage increments. This had created chaos and confusion and people now use ad-hoc methods when giving salary increments,” he said.
He said a unanimous decision was made among unions and employers to give a Rs.1,000 salary increment in 2010 and 2011 to make up for the increasing cost of living.
Mr. Tampoe said the National Labour Advisory Council which comprises the Employees Federation, unions and the Ministry of Labour should prepare a new index and do it at the earliest.
“The cost of living has gone up and therefore the goods that people bought with their salary last year is not sufficient this year. As a result wage increments are necessary but we have no means of giving these increments since the ministry had failed to introduce a fixed index,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)
Calistus Jayatilleke Saturday, 08 October 2011 03:37 AM
But if you ask the statistical experts in the Central Bank they will tell you that prices of goods have remained constant, inflation is down to single digit and the economy is strong etc/ But one can easily find the real and practical truth when one goes to the market to buy the essential needs. The answer does not lie in abolishing the old COL Index and coming up with a new figure.
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