Thursday August 22, 2019

Sri Lanka state officials, doctors to cripple public services over judges pay hike

Apr 08, 2019 08:53 AM GMT+0530 | 2 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's professional grade state workers including doctors, have threatened to cripple public services from April 15, saying judges have been given a large pay hike and they wanted the same.

Joint Committee of Government Officers is a trade union representing over 35,000 top-level senior officials of the executive grade in Sri Lanka's public administration including ministries and departments such the Treasury, tax officials, doctors and veterinarians and engineers.

"We are the cream of the public service," union chief Nimal Karunasiri told reporters.  "We do all the research, prepare plans, implement and monitor various government projects that ministers take the credit for. We will stop all that from 15 April."

The officials are opposing the judicial pay hike.

"A salary increment of 120 percent in January and a further raise in benefits as resulted in a 340 percent increase in monthly remuneration for public servants in the judicial services," Karunasiri said.

"This was done even without consulting the Public Services Commission.

"Sri Lanka's public services code has a uniform pay structure according to circular number six of 2006, but the government has ignored this to bribe a particular group of public servants to meet their own ends," he charged.

The union is demanding the same pay-hike.

They are now threatening to cripple the current administration's showpiece projects like 'Gamperaliya', a nationwide rural community development project.

"Politicians look good because of the work we do, so the first step is to put an end to all that. They will no longer have our professional services at their disposal," Karunasiri said.

They will also no longer take up positions with various state tender boards, technical evaluation committees and procurement boards. "The government will not be able to float a single tender without us," he said.

"The next step will be to stop quarantine services at the airport and ports, and reporting district and provincial level data on healthcare and diseases.

"We have no desire to take it far but if pushed against the wall we can cripple the entire healthcare, agriculture, trade and education system. No one will be able to even grow potatoes," Karunasiri said.

"However, people must understand that this is what they get when they elect buffaloes to office. We've slaved to exalt and enrich politicians, but this must end here with us," he said.

The Government Medical Officers' Association, an affiliate trade union which goes on strike at the drop of a hat, and protests even free trade deals that increases economic freedoms of the people, says they have not decided on a date yet.

"We have already decided to stop quarantine work, but yet to decide on a date," GMOA Deputy Secretary Naveen De Soyza said.

The Joint Committee of Government Officers' union has other demands: it wants non-contributory pensions reinstated for new recruits, permits to import vehicles and a guarantee that new anti-terrorism laws will not curtail dissent, protests and trade union action.

"We are ready to talk, but we will not compromise on these demands," De Soyza said. (COLOMBO, 8 April, 2019-SB)



  1. sacre blieu April 10, 09:10 AM

    The leadership of the present government are the best there is for the unions, mainly the dependable to the citizen, like, health, water, electricity, etc., to get their demands. Staying in power at any costs, damn the suffering of the greater population, who have to pay the final bill. And the play goes on.

  2. Citizen April 08, 12:39 PM

    As the elections get closer we can expect more crippling strikes. This will bring support for the SLPP candidate who promises to take away individual freedoms in the interest of the greater good.

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