National Pay Commission gets series of proposals from trade unions

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions, Ceylon Federation of Labour, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, General Services Employees Union and United Federation of Labour have submitted a series of proposals to the newly established National Pay Commission.

General Secretary Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions D.W. Subasinghe told The Island that those proposals called for the setting up of a National Wages Commission for the private sector as envisaged in part 3 of the National Workers’ Charter (NWC) of 1995, fixing a national minimum wage, setting up a comprehensive unemployment benefit insurance scheme as recommended in the Mahinda Chinthana, introducing a suitable pension scheme for EPF members and putting in place a mechanism to ensure the welfare of working women.

The United Federation of Labour President Linus Jayathilaka said that his union had submitted a proposal to introduce a medical insurance and healthcare scheme for workers and also proposed an effective social security scheme for the informal sector.

General Services Employees Union Joint Secretary Anton Marcus said that the Mahinda Chinthana programme of the government had accepted the need for a comprehensive Unemployment Benefit Insurance Scheme (UBIS) to ensure a growth-oriented productive workforce. The scheme should include economic benefits during unemployment, training and retraining and also job-placement. Both employers and the government should be contributors to the fund.

He emphasised that the National Wages Commission had been legally empowered to publish in the Government Gazette the unit rupee value of the cost of living index for updating minimum wages and for collective bargaining purposes.

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