Showdown on cards between govt. and state sector unions over their tough demands

by Chaminda Silva

The two-day sick note campaign launched by over 200 unions in government and provincial public service sectors was a success and it will continue today, as well, the State and Provincial Public Service Unions Collective has said.

Co-convener of the Collective Chandana Sooriyarachchi said that around 300 trade unions in the public sector, representing Grama Niladharis and surveyors among others, had commenced the sick-note campaign demanding a 25,000-rupee allowance.

Sooriyarachchi said the government had granted a 25,000-rupee allowance only to the Executive Grade officers in the public service. He warned that they would intensify their trade union struggle unless the government met their demand. Teachers and the principals will be reporting sick today (09).

Sooriyarachchi  said that if the authorities failed to come up with an acceptable solution, leaders of unions would meet in Colombo on Wednesday (10) to decide on the next course of action.

Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana said yesterday that the Value Added Tax (VAT) would require to be increased from the current 18% to 20-21% if the striking public servants’ demand for a salary increase was to be met.

Siriwardana said the government was not prepared to meet that demand as it would burden the public.

At a meeting held yesterday to address the demands presented by the trade unions, he emphasised that a salary increase this year was not possible.  He added that, however, the 2025 Budget would consider revising public service salaries, based on the expert committee’s recommendations on salary disparities.

The President’s Media Division (PMD) said that the Treasury Secretary had made the remarks during a meeting held under the patronage of President Wickremesinghe at the President’s Office yesterday.

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