Sick Leave

Feb 22 (LBO) – Some workers at Sri Lanka’s state owned power utility struck work on Wednesday in protest over unpaid wages, without disrupting power supplies. The politically affiliated Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (VSS) said they would be on a ‘sick-note’ campaign, not reporting to work until 4.00 pm on Wednesday evening.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) unions want the government to pay Rs. 750 million in arrears for 14,000 employees, due from 2003.

“The sick note campaign will end at 4.00 pm today but we will keep up the pressure on the government,” Ranjan Jayalal, General Secretary of the VSS, said on Wednesday.

In earlier talks with unions, the government bought time until March 15 to settle wage arrears, resulting in most unions not joining Wednesday’s campaign.

“We do not think it is fair to go on strike now because the government has said they will try to settle it by March 15. However, if we do not get the arrears by then, we will collectively take trade union action,” Ananda Nimalaratne, Convenor of the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance said Wednesday.

The Trade Union Alliance represents nearly all – about 43 – of the CEB unions.