The main opposition United National Party today called on the government to come up with a package for the workers on this year’s May Day, without using the UN Panel report to gain political advantage on that day.
The party therefore called on the government to announce the Rs 2,500 salary increment, re-introduce the salary increments given to workers every three years with the arrears, and the Rs 2.50 given to workers for each unit of the cost of living index for the May Day this year.
UNP MP and party spokesman Gayantha Karunatilleke told a news conference today that the government should provide these benefits to the workers as they have promised these benefits in the past elections.
He said the government should make such an announcement in keeping with the tradition followed by the previous regimes on the May Day.
Mr. Karunatilleke charged that the government is trying to introduce a private section pension Bill on April 27 in stead of benefits promised to the workers while trying to use the UN Panel report to get away from it.
The UNP MP said workers would expect a package as it would be the second May Day after the conclusion of the war. “Workers would defiantly expect some thing as they tightened their belts during the war,” he recalled.
He explained that May Day which began in USA in the year 1888 after a killing of a worker during a protest while it was declared a public holiday in Sri Lanka by the government of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike in 1957.
Claiming that his party’s moral rights to talk on the welfare of the workers, Mr. Karunatillke explained that it was the UNP government of 1977 which introduced the ETF and gratuity find in 1980. (Yohan Perera)