Tough Action

December 21 (LBO) – Trade unions of telco giant Sri Lanka Telecom have threatened to go on strike together with other public sector unions, if a wage dispute is not settled by December 28.

Unions representing about 6000 non-executive workers at the state telecom giant have demanded a 17.5 percent wage hike for non-executive grades, effective from November this year.

Sri Lanka Telecom agreed to a 17.5 percent increase from January 2007, which unions say is not enough. Unions also claim that executive grades have already got increases of as much as 50 percent.

“This is a reasonable request. We have asked for a 17.5 percent increase from November or a 20 percent increase from December or from January we will ask for a 30 percent increase,” Anura Perera, President of the Sri Lanka Telecom Workers Union told journalists on Thursday.

The labour department has stepped in to resolve the dispute, with a meeting with Sri Lanka Telecom management to be held on December 28.

“If the decision taken on December 28 is not favourable to us, there will be an island wide stoppage of work,” Perera said.

The strike action threatens to cripple key public services like tra