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Public sector salary increase suspended
Workers told to wait till 2010

Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne yesterday said that public servants would not be given salary increments this year.
Addressing a hastily called press conference at his ministry, he said that the government had no option but to suspend the pay hike for State sector employees, including semi-government workers, due to massive war expenditure as well as difficulties caused largely by the global economic crisis.

Responding to The Island queries, he said that the Cabinet had decided to stop salary increments for the entire state sector until 2010. State sector trade unions, including Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya, a trade union affiliated to the JVP now threatening trade union action over the delay in pay hike had been made aware of the situation, he said.

The Minister said that the government could not honour an agreement with CEB unions to increase workers salaries once in three years this year. CEB workers had received their last salary increase in January, 2006 and their next increase had been due last January but the government could not meet the commitment due to economic difficulties. He emphasised that the government would not give in to political pressure.

The JVP union and about seven or eight other small unions had threatened to disrupt services on Friday (August 28). Asked whether the government could maintain services if workers went ahead with their planned action, he expressed confidence they were ready to face any eventuality.

The Ratnapura District MP said that though the government had to meet requirements of the armed forces battling the LTTE, it continued with major development projects. He urged state sector employees to wait a little longer as they could receive their salary increments next year.

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