Task Force had not Agree to reduce worker’s Salaries

The Cabinet Decision

Circular issued by Kanishka Weerasinghe, the Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) to its members and Co-Cabinet spokesmen Udaya Gammanpila’s statement to the media on 27th October distort the facts about the decision that had taken at the Task Force meeting of the Ministry of Labour. According to them, the understanding reached among Employers, Trade Unions & Government with regard to the payment of salaries for the workers who do not report to work due to the Covid 19 epidemic, has been extended till December 31st. This is a complete lie.

On May 11th 2020, Employers, Trade Unions & Government came to an undäto pay 14,500 or half of the salary whichever is higher, for the workers who could not report for work for the months of May and June. Later this understanding was extended till September 30th. At a Task Force meeting held In October EFC and other employers requested to extend this facility until 31st December, 2020. But Trade Unions and the Minister of Labour Nimal Siripala De Silva did not agree to this proposal except for the tourist sector.  As some companies also stated that they do not wish to utilize this facility, it was agreed to submit individual applications by the companies which require this facility to the Commissioner General of Labor (CGL). The CGL was instructed to look into these applications with the participation of trade unions before approval. Otherwise, not all institutions as a whole are allowed to pay these lower wages.

The Employers’ Federation, which has always been willing to bend the law to bolster the profits of company owners, has instructed its members by a circular only to inform the CGL, about the implementation of paying low wages to workers in their institutions. They do not instruct the members about the obtaining of CGL’s approval. Therefore, we urge all workers who are helpless to go to work, not to be misled by these fraudulent advices of employers and their agents and stand for their rights.

The minutes of the National Labor Advisory Council meeting held at the Ministry of Labor on October 14 states as follows.

4.1 Task Force decision in relation to Wage Payment of workers who need to stay home because of Covid 19 situation. Earlier agreement expired in September.

4.1.1 Hon. Minister

The agreement is extended up to 31st December 2020 for tourist sector. For other sectors, the agreement is extended but based on need basis. Employers need to submit the request and DOL will assess the request and decide on merits of the application.

4.1.2 Mr.Yohan Lawrence of Joint Apparel Association Forum

There are some companies closed temporarily due to curfew. How can they use this agreement?

4.1.3 Hon. Minster

They have to submit application to DOL.