Some 2,400 administrative workers affiliated with the Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association (SLAS) will go on sick leave tomorrow and, on Wednesday, engage in a protest campaign in Colombo demanding a permanent solution to unresolved salary anomalies and related concerns.
It is anticipated that the planned trade union action will disrupt work in all district and divisional secretariats as well as a number of government departments including Motor traffic, Registration of Persons and Immigration & Emigration.
SLAS representatives told the media this morning that they are compelled to protest as the Government has failed to provide a lasting solution to the issue of salary anomalies or to take action against various threats directed at administrative workers which have hindered their ability to work independently in government departments.
All 2,400 workers on sick leave tomorrow will gather in front of the Ministry of Public Administration on Wednesday (11) in protest of government inaction in this regard, SLAS Chairman of SLAS Prabath Chandrakeerthi said.
Chandrakeerthi complained that the Government was able to increase benefits and allowances for other state employees of an equal level, neglecting the administrative workers.
The SLAS chairman accused the government of spending money on white elephants that could’ve been used to resolve the crisis.
“For example, the government has been paying an annual lease amount of Rs. 21 million for an unused building belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Economics for the past three years,” he said, claiming that the salary anomalies could’ve been resolved with the money spent.
The SLAS speakers were also critical of recent pronouncements by Ministers Daya Gamage and Vajira Abeywardena against administrative workers accusing certain district secretaries and government agents of corruption.
“We decided to take this trade union action to also condemn statements made by certain people’s representatives in an attempt to disgrace SLAS workers,” SLAS Secretary Rohana de Silva said.
“The Ministers should prove their allegations, failing which they should apologise,” he added.
Noting that the SLAS has been agitating for a solution to the crisis for six years,
De Silva further said that the Association has become a thorn in the side of the political establishment as no appointments can be made in the state services sector through political interventions or nepotism.
“People can only join the SLAS based on qualifications and by getting through competitive examination and interviews,” he added.