An agreement like no other:

SPC workers receive 41% to 55% pay hike

Plus Rs. 12,000 payment for ensuring quality of imported drugs

The Health Ministry yesterday announced an exclusive agreement between the government and the staff of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to grant a staggering 55 per cent salary increase to the lowest paid employees and 41 per cent pay hike to their highest paid counterparts.

A senior Health Ministry official said the agreement had been finalised following consultations with the Treasury.

According to Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne such a sharp salary increase had been granted due to an impressive profit of Rs 1,800 earned by the SPC.

The official said the Health Minister had received an assurance from Treasury Secretary Dr. Samaratunga that further relief would be given to SPC workers in July 2018.

Dr. Senaratne said that had the Treasury agreed to implement his original proposal to provide 70 per cent salary increase it would have come into operation in 2020.However, the agreement under which SPC workers would receive salary increase between 41% to 55% was effective from July 1, 2017 to June 6, 2020, Dr. Senaratne said.

An agreement between the Health Ministry and the SPC in 2014 had provided for 21 % to 26 % salary increases to workers, Dr. Senaratne said, adding that the new agreement allowed 40 5 to 50 % increase in the basic salary and further increase when arrears were paid with effect from July 1, 2017. That would place the range of salary increase between 41% and 55%, the minister said, adding that the monthly payment for SPC workers to ensure the quality of imported drugs would be increased by Rs. 12,000.

Dr. Senaratne emphasized the responsibility on the part of the Treasury to ensure the just implementation of state financial policy.

The minister attributed the delay in finalising the agreement between the ministry and the SPC to officials to the one-month-long debate on the 2018 budget. (SF)

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