The Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) says this week’s budget has followed the practice in the past where the government has bowed to the dictates of international financial institutions.
“Its development thrust continues to be on the export sector, improvement of infrastructure, export of human labour through migration and reliance on the tourist market. In the light of the global economic crisis this is not sustainable development,” the CFL said in a statement.
It said the contribution the working people in the non-state sector make to the productive economy of the county has been ignored. “Whilst the public servants have been granted a measly allowance, workers in the private sector continue to languish in misery. The minimum wage in the private sector is no more than Rs. 8,000. Increasing the minimum wage is the responsibility of the state and cannot be left to market forces. The government is deliberately pursuing a policy of wage disparity between the public sector and private sector,” the statement added.
The relief given to Samurdhi recipients and the elderly though welcomed is rendered meaningless in the light of the depreciation of the rupee and the pre- budget increases in fuel prices both of which are bound to have a cascading effect on the lives of the common man more particularly on the wage earners.