More than 300 delegates from the private sector met at the National Library Services Auditorium for a meeting on Sunday (March 21) organised by the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) to pressure the government to increase salaries of private sector employees by Rs. 2,500 as promised during the campaign for the Presidential Election on January 26.
Joint Secretary of the FTZGSEU, Anton Marks, told The Island yesterday that Sunday s discussions had been very successful and 12 resolutions passed calling on the government to implement the promise of the salary increase before the April 8 Parliamentary Election.
Marks said the resolutions would be submitted to all candidates in both the government and Opposition so that they could raise the issue in their political campaigns. He said: `We will organise seminars at district level with employees to get them to pressure the government to implement the Rs. 2,500 salary increase in the mercantile sector too. `If the government fails to respond, we will continue with our agitation starting on May Day,` Marks said.
`The Mercantile employers are of the opinion
that the government has no right to force them to give a salary increase. We emphasise that the government has the responsibility to see to it that the Rs. 2,500 salary increase is implemented. The wages boards have no legal right to increase salaries, but fix a minimum wage. We condemn the government s inaction on this matter,`
Marks said that employees had been given a specific number to send SMS messages, which would be forwarded to the government.
There are 4.6 million employees in the private sector, but only 2.6 million are covered by the 43 Wages Boards. There are 350,000 workers in the garment factories in FTZs and 180,000 outside it.