Request to forego month’s salary: TUs contemplate legal action

By Agra Ranasinghe
Trade unions have urged the Government to withdraw the letter issued by the President’s Secretary requesting public sector employees to forego their monthly salaries for May.

The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) however, said the Government had not yet responded to the trade unions’ request.

NTUC council member and Ceylon Teachers Service Union General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe told The Morning that according to a letter issued by the President’s Secretary on 5 May, although the salaries of government employees are to be cut in accordance with their demand, there are some situations where salaries have been cut by force.

According to him, the Chief Accountant of the Development Department has written to Samurdhi accountants and managers in the districts informing them that Rs. 1,000 should be deducted from the salaries of the members of a particular trade union.

Furthermore, it was communicated that the employees should make known their reluctance by a letter if they do not want their salaries to be deducted.
The Secretary of the Ministry of Education of the Sabaragamuwa Province has also issued a letter and requested the one-day salary of all employees be deducted, and stated that this amount is for the fund provided for Covid-19.
Also, the Chief Secretary of the Eastern Province has written to all district secretaries and secretaries of the provinces requesting them to cut the day’s wages of the employees in accordance with an agreement with the Governor.

Additionally, a daily wage has been deducted from all the employees of the Postal Department.

Jayasinghe further said that even though in some circumstances employees are asked to state their reluctance with regard to the situation, some employees are unable to say that they are reluctant due to the fear of issues that may arise in terms of their jobs.

However, he said the Government has not yet responded to the unions’ request and that legal action will be pursued by the unions if the Government fails to address the request.