Sri Lanka agriculture, construction workers earn less, services do better

April 21, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan agriculture and construction workers saw their earnings eroded by high inflation in 2007 for the second year running while public sector workers and the service sector saw real increases, the central bank said. ” . . . as experienced in the previous year, both the agriculture and construction sector employees suffered losses in their real wages in 2007 as compared with the previous year,” the bank said in its annual report.

Nominal wages in agriculture, industry and commerce and services of the formal private sector, as reflected by the minimum wage rate indices, rose by 16 percent, 40 percent and 36 percent, in 2007.

The overall index for the private sector recorded a nominal increase of 21 percent, which was a “significant improvement” compared with a marginal increase of two percent in the previous year, the bank said.

“As a result, these employees, on average, enjoyed a real wage increase of 2.7 percent in 2007, in contrast to a real wage loss of 10 percent suffered in 2006.

“However, the agriculture sector employees continued to suffer a further marginal loss in real wage by 1.6 percent during 2007.”

Sri Lanka has had to suffer over 20 percent inflation for the last two years mainl