Several public sector trade unions are opposing pay hikes for parliamentarians on the grounds that they are useless to the people and constitute a drain on the country`s resources.
Parliament on Tuesday decided to `rectify parliamentarians` salary anomalies` to match the salary scales of judicial officers. According to the new scheme, the salary of an MP will be equal to that of a High Court Judge and the Deputy Ministers and Ministers will draw the same salary as Appeal Court Judges and Supreme Court Judges respectively. The Prime Minister`s salary will be on par with that of the Chief Justice.
A salary increase on par with salary increase granted to public servants would have been fair if it was granted to MPs as requested by minister Jayaraj Fernandopulle in Parliament on Tuesday, said Dr. Thilina Gunawardena, president of the Society of Registered Medical Officers (SRAMO).
He said MPs enjoy all the perks under the sun such as duty free, tax free vehicles, petrol allowances, housing allowance, secretary allowance, security allowance, machines, insurance cover plus the salary of Rs. 22,100 and it is unreasonable and unjustified for MPs to ask for salary hike, when the whole country is suffering and a majority of the people are unable to eat a decent meal a day.
`We also have grievances about our salary anomalies but we believe the time is not right to ask for these when the country is faced with problems, he said.
The President of Union of Post and Telecom Officers (UPTO) H. M. Nawaratne Bandara told The Island that the workers were angry when they received their salaries yesterday and found that they had not received even 200 to 300 rupees according to the Public Administration Circular of 1/2006.
`It is very unreasonable that the Mahinda Chinthanaya did not yield a salary increase. It was only a few years ago that the same minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle stated that minister`s salary should be higher than that of a Supreme Court Judge, the Prime Minister`s should be higher than the chief justice, a non cabinet minister salary higher than a High Court Judge`s Deputy Minister or MP higher than a District Court Judge and motion was passed to increase the salaries to 22,100 rupees,` he said.
He said the minister had also said that a ministry secretary drew more than a minister and all they did was to first increase the salaries of secretaries and then demand for more for themselves.
Bandara further said the people were sick and tired of these MPs and the sacrifices they make for the country and people.
`They should stop demanding salary increases and concentrate on solving the country`s problems.`
CMU Leader Bala Tampoe said that as trade unions they did not think that MPs should get any salary increases because they are useless to the people and a drain on the country`s resources.