(May 01, The working class of Sri Lanka is facing the harsh reality of the rulers they secured in power even before a month passed after they swept Mahinda Rajapaksa regime into the parliament with a close to two third majority.
The government has completely forgotten the promises to increase salaries of the 1.2 million public sector employees and 4.5 million private sector employees. Even the government employees that voted overwhelmingly to the regime has forgotten the promises they were given. Our observation was that they did not take these promises seriously.
But, the state-run media brightened the spirits of the voters by igniting the hopes of important statement from the government on May Day. Working class had hopes in the back of their minds that the government would not totally forget them.
Now, all hopes are gone. The hyped salary increase for the employees that come under the Wages Board control is also proved a fraudulent propaganda piece.
Minister of Labour Relations and Productivity Promotion Gamini Lokuge announced that the minimum wages of the private sector employees that are covered by Wages Boards would have an increase to their minimum salary from 20% to 45%. The Minister stated that the minimum salary of the employees would be increased from Rs. 7000 to 10,000 accordingly.
However, the Secretary of Free Trade Zone Employees’ Union Anton Marcus said that Wages Boards could decide only the minimum wage of a sector of employment that is covered by Wages Boards. He pointed out that practically the minimum wage of the employees in these sectors are above that is specified by the Wages Boards. Therefore, the employees will not have any salary increase, he says.
Marcus also said that of the above 4.5 million private sector employees of the country, only 2.5 million are subjected to the Wages Board wage control. Twenty million have been totally left out, he says.