House plans fall through: Nearly 40 retired, more to follow

Nearly 40 Parliament workers retired at the end of last month (December) as Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, backed by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, failed to convince State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya to approve their plan to retain those who were past the retirement age.

Sources said that of some 800 plus workers, about 36 retired on 31 Dec. 2022. Siyambalapitiya refused to back the decision taken by the Parliamentary Staff Advisory Committee, chaired by the Speaker, to retain those workers.

Sources confirmed that more parliamentary employees would retire this year. The Opposition Leader, who is also the leader of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), is on record as having alleged that colleague Siyambalapitiya went back on his word to support the move to extend the retirement age, beyond 60, for Parliament staff.

The State Finance Minister has declared that Parliament should abide by the government’s decision to retire those who have reached 60. The Kegalle District MP has declared that the House staff couldn’t be given special status as the country was in such a desperate situation.

Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, and Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, in their brief address to staff on the New Year Day, discussed the challenging environment they have to perform their duties against the backdrop of large number of public servants leaving the public service (not only from the Parliament service) and restrictions on financial allocations (SF)

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