Sector-based salary hikes exacerbating salary anomalies: SLGOTUA

  • Government officers claim government strategy counter-productive

By Buddhika Samaraweera

Emphasising that the Government should take steps to formulate a programme to eliminate salary anomalies in the entire public service instead of addressing salary anomalies in each sector, the Sri Lanka Government Officers’ Trade Union Association (SLGOTUA) has warned that they would initiate trade union actions from February if the Government fails to respond positively to their demand by the end of this month.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (9), SLGOTUA National Organiser B.A. Pradeep Basnayake claimed that most of the Government’s way of handling salary anomalies exacerbates such anomalies in the public sector. Therefore, he pointed out that a programme should be formulated immediately to eliminate the salary anomalies in the entire public service.

“The Governments have been addressing salary anomalies in various sectors from time to time. For example, when doctors demand that their salaries be increased, the Government increases their salaries. The Government recently decided to increase the salaries of teachers and principals after they waged a trade union struggle, but this will only increase the salary anomalies in public service,” he said.

Basnayake also charged that although the present Government had stated that they would take steps to address the issues of service minutes of certain sectors before coming to power, the Government has however failed to address such issues.

“We will inform the relevant authorities of these issues in writing in the next few days, but if the Government does not come up with an acceptable solution by the end of this month, we will have to resort to trade union action. The SLGOTUA is already in discussions with the trade unions in a number of sectors in order to obtain their support,” he added.

Following a long back-and-forth between the trade unions within the education sector led by the Teachers’ and Principals’ Trade Union Alliance (TPTUA) and the Government over salary anomalies of teachers and principals, which saw schools closed, a series of protests taking place, and representatives from numerous other sectors joining the fray on the part of the education sector, the relevant circular to rectify the said anomalies was last week published by the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils, and Local Government.

The relevant communiqué, signed by Public Services, Provincial Councils, and Local Government Ministry Secretary J.J. Rathnasiri, was issued on 5 December, effecting an amendment to Public Administration Circular 03/2016 to introduce salary scales for the teacher advisor service and to eliminate salary anomalies in the teachers’ and principals’ services. The circular had been issued with the approval of the National Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Ministry of Finance.