After the government announced that it is ready to increase the salaries of the public sector and the private sector in the next budget, trade unions and other political parties protested to increase the salaries for their political gains and the decision regarding the salary increase was taken by the government a few months ago, Labor and Foreign Affairs said. Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
The minister mentioned this when the “Garu Saru” programs created with the aim of promoting the safety and dignity of the labor of all professionals working in the informal service sector in Sri Lanka started today under the chairmanship of the Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment, Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara.
This “Garu Saru” program is expected to build respect, safety and recognition in all jobs such as private bus driver, bus assistant, other transport sector driver, construction technician, construction assistant, domestic worker, beautician, self-employed etc. For the series of discussions that have been started for this purpose, anyone has the opportunity to submit suggestions and ideas from the citizen community, informal and formal sector workers.
Accordingly, marking the beginning of this collaboration, a public consultation session of all professionals in the informal service sector was also held today with the participation of the minister.
Further commenting there, the minister also said,
We as a ministry have done a lot of work this year and a half. We will be able to bring the new Labor Act by the first half of next year.
From a time when the country has completely collapsed, the expatriate workers of this country were told not to send money to the country. For that, the expatriate workers gave us a lot of support. That is why they should be specially reminded.
From the day we assumed this ministry to the 30th of last September, expatriate workers have sent 7.1 billion US dollars to this country. And I would like to remind you that the total debt burden of our country is 38 billion US dollars. That means we have received a significant amount of foreign exchange during this period.
This amount was sent to a country that had fallen to zero. That’s a huge step forward. We took steps to respect them and that’s how we got to this position. Also, by ending many problems of the workers in our country, we were able to move forward day by day.
We have seen agitations for salary increase in recent days. But they protested after we took a decision about three months ago to increase the salaries of all the people in the public, private and estate sectors.
As our part of that decision, preliminary discussions were held to increase the minimum basic salary in the private sector, and the consent of the Labor Consultative Council was taken and submitted to the Cabinet. We had finished laying the foundation for increasing the basic salary. At this time, the President told us to increase these salaries in the budget.
In the meantime, when they asked to increase the wages of plantation workers, we discussed it. At that time, the President said that he would talk to the estate companies and do the necessary things.