Friday, 9 January 2004  
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No. 1321/17 Gazette notification:

Rights of working class violated, says Weerawansa

by Jayantha Sri Nissanka and Bharatha Malawaraarchchi

JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa making a statement in the House yesterday said the Gazette notification bearing No. 1321/17 issued on December 31, 2003 was a violation of the rights of the working class.

"In the future, a large number of people will be thrown out from their work places and compensation paid according to a formula introduced in this Gazette Notification," he added.

Weerawansa said when employees were removed, they were paid compensation based on six months salary per every working year.

"We fear that a large number of employees in the private sector especially in the garment industry, will face severe consequences due to this obnoxious Gazette notification," he added

Urging the Government to cancel the Gazette notification, Weerawansa said steps should be taken to implement a proper formula which respects the service duration of the employees, nature of the work place, amount of the capital etc.

Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe replying to the statement, said it is unfair to make such a statement without informing the Minister concerned as it makes it difficult for him to give a detailed answer.

However, the Minister said the Termination of Employment Act was introduced in 1971 and some amendments were brought to the Act last year.

"We assured to implement all those amendments once the safety net is in place", Samarasinghe added.

The Minister said: "Sri Lanka provides the largest compensation package for employees compared with other countries in the region.

"India pays only two weeks compensation for a year. Pakistan pays 20 days compensation and Bangladesh one month. But we pay two and half months for a year".

The Government pays nine months salary for employees who have less than four years service and six months salary for employees who have more than four years service.

Altogether Sri Lankan employees will get 11 and half months salary as compensation.

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