The JVP yesterday urged the government to bring a Bill to Parliament to increase the salaries of private sector employees as they promised in the interim budget in January.
JVP North Central Provincial Councillor and President of the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) Wasantha Samarasinghe said that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake promised a Rs. 10,000 salary hike for public sector employees and Rs. 2,500 for the private sector workers in his budget speech on January 27.
"Although the public sector salaries were increased, the government did not prevail on the private sector even after nine months to grant the promised increase."
Samarasinghe said the majority of workers were in the private sector and they contributed the major portion to the national economy, but their minimum basic salary was still Rs. 10,000.
"There are seven million private sector employees in the country, but only 1.5 million in the public sector," he said, adding that the government should take immediate action to increase their salaries.
The former MP said that when the JVP was in the UPFA government in 2005, that government increased the salaries of private sector employees by a Parliamentary Act. It was Act No. 36 of 2005, Samarasinghe said, adding that the present government too had to introduce such a bill to parliament.
He said that the first job of the newly appointed Minister of Labour and Trade Union Affairs W. D.J. Seneviratne should be to prepare laws to increase salaries of private sector employees.
"We requested Minister Seneviratne in writing to resolve this problem yesterday," Samarasinghe said.