Sri Lanka trade unions reject government pay hike

Nov 10, 2009 (LBO) – Labour unions in several key state-owned utilities have rejected a government offer of a pay hike and said they would start a ‘work-to-rule’ from Wednesday that could slowdown economic activity. The joint trade unions of state refiner, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), National Water Board, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and port workers rejected a government offer of a 22 percent pay hike.

Trade unions affiliated to Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said the government offered to increase wages by 22 percent effective from November, 2009 after a meeting between unions and secretary to the treasury P B Jayasundara.

But the joint trade unions, rejecting the offer, have demanded for a higher pay hike effective from January 2009, with a salary increase every three years, joint CPC trade union chairman, A L Ananda told our sister website, Vimasuma.com.

The union action has raised fears fuel, electricity and water supplies could get disrupted as well as work at Colombo port.

Long queues were seen outside fuel stations from Tuesday morning as panicky motorist came to top up their tanks expecting negotiations between the government and trade unions to fail.

Petroleum