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Request to donate salary could be seen as a threat: Ceylon Teachers’ Union

A view of Colombo showing the Presidential Secretariat, Treasury and the Twin Towers/Amitha Thennekoon economynext

ECONOMYNEXT – Ceylon Teachers’ Union will not support the request made by President’s Secretary P B Jayasundara from state sector employees to forego a portion of their May salary, a spokesman said.

Union Secretary Joseph Stalin told EconomyNext that trade union action will be taken against the request, in collaboration with other state sector unions.

Stalin said it was unclear whether Jayasundara’s letter which bore the presidential secretariat letterhead was a genuine request or a thinly veiled threat.

The letter, addressed to heads of all state institutions requested all state sector employees to donate their salary for the month of May, or a portion of it, in a bid to reduce Sri Lanka’s budget deficit.

“Last month they said they wouldn’t charge interest from government workers since they are in a desperate situation,” Stalin told EconomyNext.

“But in the end, interest was charged. Now they’re asking us to donate a day’s salary to reduce the budget deficit. It is wrong to ask that.”

Stalin said it is inconceivable for the government to claim there is a shortage of funds when there are foreign and local donations coming into the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Why are they asking us to donate our salary? They get donations from different countries and from local companies,” he said, adding that the request could be seen as a threat.

“The letter is purported to encourage state employees to donate their pay. We are not sure whether it is encouragement or a threat,” said Stalin.

“We see this as a threat to us,” he added.

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However, despite Stalin’s vow to protest the request together with other unions, the Public Services United Nurses Union said they are in support of the donation.

“We are the ones who started donating in the first placce. We fully support this,” a spokesman told EconomyNext.

“This is a time when we should support the country, and we are willing to do that.” (Colombo/May 08/ 2020)

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