The Ministry of Labour will be shut down and its staff will not be allowed to work if the pension scheme for the private sector is taken up and passed in parliament, the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) threatened today.
The Union threatened to surround the building situated at Narahenpita and occupy the building until the pension scheme was recalled if the scheme was passed in parliament next Tuesday (May 24).
“It is the responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that the benefits of the workers are protected,” said ICEU President Wasantha Samarasinghe. He asked the Ministry to intervene and take action before the Employee Pension Benefit Fund (EPBF) Bill was passes in parliament as it was not in the best interest of the employees.
Mr. Samarasinghe said that they would be conducting awareness programmes throughout the week before making a final decision next Monday (May 23) at a conference held with other trade unions. “We will take drastic measures if this bill is not withdrawn and we will ensure that the Ministry that is responsible for our welfare be closed if the bill is passed in parliament,” he said.
“How can this be a good bill, if those in the ministry including the Minister, the Secretary of the Ministry and the Commissioner General of didn’t know about it,” Mr. Samarasinghe said. He warned that the Ministry will be held responsible for the problems that come up if the Bill is passed and that they would take severe action if the bill is passed.
Mr. Samarasinghe however, said that they were ready to hold discussions with the Ministry to establish a proper pension scheme that would be beneficial to the employees, unlike the current scheme proposed by the government which was not sustainable.
The bill that was presented to parliament in early April came under fire by both trade unions and the employer’s for many of its principal clauses as it allegedly took more from the employee’s funds than gave benefits.