Sri Lanka labour minister ‘orders’ private sector salary hike

Jan 19, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s labour minister has “ordered” a 2,500 rupee salary hike to private sector workers, a ministry statement said, though an organization representing the major employers said they had no knowledge of the move. The statement said a 405 rupee a month wage deal negotiated between a group of large tea and rubber plantations, the EFC and unions will also apply to all estates.

Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised a 2,500 rupee a month salary hike to state workers from April when the budget is due, while the main opposition presidential candidate running for the January 26 polls has promised a 10,000 rupee hike.

Labour minister Athauda Senerviratne has made a special order to the commissioner of labour to increase salary of all wages boards similar to the state salary increase with immediate effect, a ministry statement said.

Wages boards are consultative committees where trade unions and employers discuss and agree on minimum salary levels for various specified categories of workers.

The statement said the order also applied to factories operating under Sri Lanka’s board of investment (BOI) laws.

A spokesperson for the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC), the main employer’s