On the cards; state sector unions threaten to strike
A public sector trade union alliance has threatened to take union action without ‘prior notice’ if the Government fails to include a salary hike or allowance in the 2022 Budget. Expressing disappointment that the Budget 2022 had not provided relief to state- sector employees, the Sri Lanka Government Officers’ Trade Union Association (SLGOTUA) wrote to the President, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister this week, demanding an urgent salary increase. It warned that if it was not done, the association would take trade union action. SLGOTUA Secretary Gamini Hettiarachchi said that according to the survey conducted within the Government Service, about Rs. 58,000 was needed for a month to maintain a family of four. Given this situation, he said they expected the Government to provide a salary increase of at least Rs. 18,000 for state employees. The SLGOTUA claimed that about 37 public sector unions comprising some 1.2 million of the total 1.4 million workforce had already joined this struggle. “We have not decided what form our trade union action will take, but we will definitely initiate action if this demand is not met as the cost of living has become unbearable,” Mr. Hettiarachchi said. The association said it also regretted the Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa's recent remark that the state workforce had become “a burden on the country.” Earlier Minister Rajapaksa also ruled out any salary hike for state employees, pointing to the enormous economic difficulties.