The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) today warned that it would soon launch a massive trade union campaign, which would cripple the country, if the government failed to grant a Rs.13,442 salary increase to all public sector employees.
NTUC leader K.D. Lalkantha told a media briefing that if the government attempted to use the police to suppress their trade union protest campaigns the Union would ask the protesters to retaliate because their struggle was reasonable.
“We believe that a genuine trade union struggle will always achieve victory. It is senseless to withdraw from fearing government suppression because it is what every government in power resorts to. Instead, the trade unions should strengthen their power base and prepare themselves to rise up against suppression,” he said adding that the NTCU hoped to invite the National Union of Workers and the Sri Lanka Independent Employees Union to join in the workers’ struggle.
“The allowances given to state sector workers by the government since 2006, adds up to only Rs.7069. In 2006 a family spent a minimum of Rs.25,344 a month. By last month it has increased up to Rs.46,396 based on the escalating Consumer Price Index. Considering this situation, the government has to pay Rs.13,442.50 to bridge the gap between the basic wages of a worker and the arrears on the non-payment of the cost of living allowance,” Mr. Lal Kantha said.
He said they expected the government to grant the demand for a salary increase through the Budget. “However, if the government is unable to grant a salary increase it should admit its inability to do so and acknowledge that Rs.13,442.50 was payable as arrears to every state sector worker,” he added.
Mr. Lal Kantha stressed the need to transform the existing social structure by placing a value on the output of every employee and thus end the need for a continuous salary struggle. (Lakna Paranamanna)