The government is under pressure to review a controversial formula under which four key state institutions, namely the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) are given substantial salary increases.
Ministerial sources told The Island that the national economy couldn’t meet unions’ demand for a staggering 15 per cent yearly salary hike for those employed at cash-strapped institutions. Asked whether any other state sector institution had given such an increment to its employees, sources said the aforesaid outfits got preferential treatment.
CPC, CEB, NWSDB and SLPA trade unions affiliated to the UNP, the JVP and the ruling SLFP are demanding a 45 per cent salary increase (15 per cent annual increase for a three-year period effective Jan. 2012).
Responding to a query, sources said that even at the height of the war those workers had been given huge salary increases, though others were asked to tighten their belts for the sake of the country.
In 2003, employees of those four institutions received 23 per cent increase, 33 per cent in 2006 and 22 per cent in 2009. Sources said that in Oct. 2011, trade unions demanded a staggering 45 per cent increase for 2012-2015 period warning of dire consequences unless the government met their demand.
The CEB pays PAYE tax of its employees while incurring staggering losses.
The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), too, has highlighted the failure on the part of the government to adopt a cohesive policy with regard to salary and other payments given to state-sector employees. COPE alleged that the government due to its short-sighted policy had created a super section within the public sector at the expense of the national economy.
Courtesy: The Island