Graduate employees want to be treated with dignity



By Dasun Edirisinghe

More than 100,000 public sector graduate employees yesterday asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take immediate action to prevent them from being underemployed and subjected to indignities.

In a letter to President Rajapaksa, they have demanded duty free motorcycles for all graduate employees and an increase in their transport allowance up to Rs. 4,000.

General Secretary of the pro-JVP Graduate Employees Union (GEU) Chandana Sooriyarachchi said that more than 110,000 graduates recruited to the public service in 1999, 2005, 2008 and 2013 were still in the ‘Non Staff’ grade. As a result they were still in the MN 4 salary level which was similar to labourers and clerks.

He said that Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya had promised to absorb them to MN 6 salary scale despite their request that they be placed at the MN 5 scale in 2012.

"We are ashamed to say that we are made to work as clerks, storekeepers, cashiers in hospital kitchens, distributing plants, packing seeds and organising political meetings," Sooriyarachchi said,

adding that it amounted to severe discrimination against graduates and some of the graduate workers had already left the government service.

Unless President Rajapaksa took action to redress their grievances they would be compelled to resort to trade union action, he warned.


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