We are aware that you are preparing the budget proposals for the year 2022 facing the challenge of presenting Government Budget Proposals to Parliament amidst the most recent catastrophe, the COVID 19 pandemic that has plunged the entire world into crisis. Therefore, we decided to submit our proposals well in advance for your convenience.
In this regard, we, the undersigned members of the National Labor Advisory Council and representatives of the private sector employees would like to state in a nutshell that those private-sector employees, especially the employees in the private sector export manufacturing have made significant contributions to the economic growth of our country even under hazardous circumstances. Therefore, we would like to draw your attention first to the following statistics which shows their contribution to the economy of the country.
Despite the initial economic downturn due to COVID 19 pandemic;
Despite the risk of contracting the Covid 19 virus, the employees from every area of the private sector have made a strenuous contribution to keeping our economy afloat in the face of the current global crisis, these workers did not receive any additional allowance. Instead, they had to survive and sustain their lives with half-the-salary as they were not called to work. Thus, the gross loss of wages and other benefits to garment workers from March to May 2020 alone is estimated as the US $ 24 million. The number of job losses is also significant.
The Joint Apparel Association Forum reports that at the beginning of 2020, just as the pandemic spread, the number of direct employees was 500,000. According to their own statistics that number by far has declined up to 350,000. Its other words, the value of production acquired by exploiting five lakh workers at the beginning of last year is now achieved from nearly half the labour force. According to our knowledge, nearly six apparel sector employees have lost their lives due to COVID 19 pandemic and the situation exists in other sectors remains the same. For example, the tourist sector employees who earned the service charge more than their basic wages and now because of the pandemic they have lost not only their wages, but a considerable number of employees have lost their jobs. It is from this information relevant to the garment industry that one can understand the inhumane conditions that have pushed workers in the export manufacturing sector.
Against such a backdrop, when all other institutions were closed during the curfew which came into effect on August 20, 2021, the export manufacturing sector was declared an essential service but they were not given any special allowance adequate with the service.
According to Census and Statistics report, between September 2020 to September 2021 inflation has increased by 05.7 percentage. Therefore, the decline in their daily income, the risk of losing their jobs and contracting Covid-19 along with the increase in the price of essential commodities have made the lives of the private sector employees and their dependents unbreakably difficult.
We, the undersigned trade unions, representing the National Labor Advisory Council, after taking into consideration all the above conditions, requests you to include the following suggestions given below into the 2022 Budget proposal that you hope to present.
We would also like to mention that the government has already accepted not only by policy but also in practice the increase of daily wages up to Rs. 1000/- and has also taken steps to put into operation by the Wages Board applicable to the plantation sector workers.
We kindly request the above proposals should be included in the forthcoming budget as an appreciation of the service rendered by the employees of the private sector as they have already contributed to bringing the economy of our country to a certain level of stability and as an encouragement to the employees of the private sector to take the economy of our country forward.
|1||Anton Marcus – Joint Secretary||Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union|
|2||Leslie Devendra – General Secretary||Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya|
|3||Wasantha Samarasignghe - President||Intercompany Employees’ Union|
|4||Palitha Athukoarale - President||National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka|
|5||Robert Francis – General Secretary||Ceylon Estates Services Union|
|6||Sylvester Jayakody – General Secretary||Ceylon Mechantile Industrial and General Workers Union|
|7||Suranjaya Amarasighe – General Secretary||United Federation of Labour|
|8||Channa Disanayake - President||Celyon Bank Employees Union|
|9||Sunil De Silva – Vice President||Jathika Sewaka Sangamaya|
|10||Chaminda Perera – Acting Secretary||Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions|
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