Private sector salary hike not due to
Private sector trade unions have alleged
that the government has not taken any
steps to increase the salaries of the
private sector employees.
The JVP affiliated Inter Company
Employees' Union (ICEU) has charged that
the government instead of taking steps
to increase the private sector workers'
salaries, was staging a cover up by
engaging in false propaganda saying that
the salaries of employees would be
raised by 25%.
JVP Parliamentarian and ICEU Secretary,
Wasantha Samarasinghe has told the media
that the wage control councils were now
holding discussions to raise the current
minimum salary of Rs. 5000 by about 15%.
Meanwhile, it was also said that the
government was planning on issuing a
Gazette notification stating that the
minimum wage of a company employee would
be raised to Rs. 5,700 or Rs. 5,750 as
decided upon by the wage control
According to Samarasinghe, this salary
increase was the result of an agreement
between wage control councils and the
trade unions, and was in no way a
government salary increase and alleged
that the government was trying to
highlight it as a government initiative
by issuing Gazette notifications.
Samarasinghe has further said that the
ICEU proposed to raise salaries through
the wage control councils only on the
condition that the minimum salary should
at least be Rs.12,500. Accordingly, the
wage control councils of the Colombo
Dockyards agreed to bring their minimum
wagea up to Rs.12,500. This is only one
example to show that these salary
increases are not due to a government
initiative, Samarasinghe said.
However, the ICEU has demanded that a
salary increase should be implemented so
that the working masses would be able to
cope with the rising cost of living.
By the month of May 2008, the cost of
living had reached 6734.7 - the cost of
living has increased by 1558.3 points
during the past year. The cost of
essential consumer items has gone up by
more than 100%. "Therefore, we emphasise
that the salaries of private sector
employees should be raised to a level,
required for decent living," he has
Samarasinghe has also warned of stern
trade union action by the first week of
July if an acceptable solution is not
presented to the private sector
employees by then. He had also said that
a poster campaign and a distribution of
leaflets would be conducted in this
regard and demonstrations would be held
Govt. bent on slashing fertiliser
The JVP says that any government that
had tried to slash the fertiliser
subsidy has been voted out of power.
The JVP affiliated All Ceylon Farmers'
Federation has said that the government
was trying to increase the subsidised
price of a fertiliser bag from Rs.350 to
Rs.1200 as a first step and then totally
remove the subsidy.
JVP Parliamentarian and President of the
Federation, S.K. Subasinghe has said
that the government was preparing to
slash the fertiliser subsidy.
"A few days ago several farmer
representatives who could be manipulated
by the government were called to Temple
Trees and their statements were taken
justifying the reduction of the
fertiliser subsidy and wide publicity
was given to it," he said.
Subasinghe alleged that the government
has been trying to slash the subsidy for
over a year now and that such attempts
were prevented due to the intervention
of certain farmer communities.
"Currently, the government is trying to
slash the fertiliser subsidy making use
of the fuel crisis," Subasinghe has
Subasinghe has also pointed out that
while the cost of living has increased
by about 40%, the expenditure incurred
to produce a good harvest through
farming has increased by 50% to 60% and
that the price of paddy has only
increased by 10%.
According to him, slashing the
fertiliser subsidy under such
circumstances would be hard on the
farmer. Subasinghe also said the ACFF
has decided to launch an islandwide
protest campaign against the
government's attempt to first slash and
then withdraw the fertiliser subsidy.
Fuel at concessionary price for
The JVP last week accused the government
of providing fuel at a concessionary
price to the members of the foreign
diplomatic missions and cabinet
ministers while the people were left to
bear the brunt of the fuel hike.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva
addressing a media conference said that
a circular had been issued permitting
members from the foreign missions to
purchase fuel at a concessionary price.
"Accordingly they can obtain a litre of
90 octane petrol for Rs. 130 when the
market price is Rs. 157 a litre.
Similarly a litre of 95 octane petrol is
sold for Rs. 142 when the actual market
price is Rs. 170," Silva charged.
He also said that according to
information received by the party,
cabinet ministers also obtained fuel at
these concessionary prices.
He charged that the government ministers
were enjoying this benefit when the
government has failed to grant a subsidy
on kerosene at least to Samurdhi
recipients who amount to two million of
"If the government increased fuel prices
in keeping with the world market prices,
why cannot the diplomatic missions and
the cabinet also purchase fuel at the
current prices? The government is only
finding an excuse for their unnecessary
expenses. If the government removed the
levy on fuel the prices would
automatically come down," Silva added.