The pro-JVP Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) yesterday gave the government month s deadline to increase private sector salaries. If not, they threatened an islandwide strike in the first week of July and warned it would be similar to the one launched in 1982.
President of the ICEU, JVP MP Wasantha Samarasinghe told the media yesterday that the government had agreed to increase private sector salaries by 25 per cent. But, the present Labour Minister was trying to take the credit for it although it was proposed by the Salaries and Wages Board and not the government, Samarasinghe said.
`Minister Seneviratne is taking the private sector employees for a ride. The minimum salary of private sector employees is Rs. 5,000. But we demanded a Rs. 12,000 minimum basic salary. Only the Colombo Dockyard Salaries Board agreed to our proposal. Minister Seneviratne had promised on four or five occasions to increase salaries but nothing has happened as yet,` Samarasinghe said.
He said they commenced protests within work places yesterday and from June 9 they will regularly keep all private sector employees informed of the developments.
They had planned to launch an island wide poster campaign at the end of this month and it would culminate in an island wide strike.
Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne earlier told The Island that there was a 25 per cent salary increase for the private sector employees and the government would issue a gazette notification during the course of last week. But, it hadn t been gazetted.
Minister Seneviratne eas not available for comment.
There are around 6.5 million private sector workers comprising 80 per cent of the country s work force.