NPP against private sector pay cuts - Samarasinghe

The National People’s Power(NPP) is totally against the pay cuts carried out in the private sector using COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse, NPP Anuradhapura district team leader candidate Wasantha Samarasinghe said.

“The Private Sector has retrenched many workers using the pandemic as an excuse. Some private sector employees have to endure salary cuts.

Many workers in the private sector are presently going through serious economic difficulties. These people are not only affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are suffering from an economic pandemic as well. Some garment factories have not even asked their workers to return to work. Around 80,000 garment factory workers have lost their livelihood.

“The tourism industry has fallen apart. The government has no concern about these matters. It just sits and watches until garment factory owners unfairly kick their workers out,” Samarasinghe alleged.

Samarasinghe made these observations at a press briefing held at the NPP headquarters in Colombo yesterday (22). Samarasinghe observed that, “Some large scale factories have started suppressing the trade unions and their leaders”. He accused the government of turning a blind eye to the activities of such factory owners. Some of the profit-earning companies have downsized their cadre. For example there is a major employee removal taking place at Puttalam cement factory.

Samarasinghe pointed out that they requested the government as the Inter Companies Trade Union to provide relief to factories in order to pay their employees.

“This government received up to Rs. 200 billion in financial aid from foreign countries. What happened to this money? According to one of the private research institutes, around 1.2 million people may lose their livelihood due to the pandemic,” Samarasinghe said.

Samarasinghe alleged that, “Instead of giving relief to people, the government is coming up with laws to reduce workers’ salaries. Many companies have started this. We are questioning the government under what law these companies are cutting down on the salaries of their employees. They are cutting down on the salaries and filling up the owners’ pockets. The government has claimed that trade unions are in agreement with salary cuts. That is a lie. We were and still are vehemently opposed to this move. We urge all the workers in the country to come forward and stand up against this injustice.

The government has cut down the allowances given to officers attached to the defense forces as well. Economic difficulties are getting more difficult by the day and the government is taxing people instead of supporting them.”

Samarasinghe was also critical about the destruction of a building with archaeological value in Kurunegala. People with vested interests are also trying to cover up this matter, Samarasinghe said. “If this government is given a two thirds majority, it will not be good for the country,” Samarasinghe added.


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