Clean Bowled

The government ramped up its election campaign by rushing through a law that forces Sri Lanka’s private sector to pay a Rs. 1,000 (US$ 10) more to its workers. The government ramped up its election campaign by rushing through a law that forces Sri Lanka’s private sector to pay a Rs. 1,000 (US$ 10) more to its workers. Parliament unanimously approved the ‘Budgetary relief allowance for workers bill’ presented by Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne on Friday, despite stiff opposition from local trade chambers.

The bill mandates employees earning Rs. 20,000 (US$ 200) and under, to be paid an extra Rs. 1,000 allowance with retrospective from August 1.

The extra allowance, however, does not cover sectors such as apparels, plantations, hotels and those currently governed through collective bargaining agreements.

A dozen or so government legislators were present in the chamber when the vote was taken, with barely a hum from opposition benches.

Joining the debate, the main opposition United National Party argued that Rs. 1000 hike was insufficient and asked the government to raise the allowance to Rs. 5,000 (US$ 50).

Around 7.5 mn Sri Lankans a