Tax Dept. employees to report ‘sick’ tomorrow

By Bandula Sirimanna

Trade unions at the Inland Revenue Department are launching a ‘sick note’ and work-to-rule campaign from tomorrow against what they call ‘unilateral and unfair actions’ by the Inland Revenue Commissioner General K.M.S Kandegedera to absorb Provincial Council tax officers to the department.
The move by the department is because these officers have no work at provincial level due to the Government’s decision to abolish the Business Turnover Tax (BTT) and replace it with the Nation Building Tax (NBT), a spokesman of the Joint Committee of Trade Unions of the Sri Lanka Inland Revenue Service told the Sunday Times.

He said that all employees including the Tax Commissioners of the department will launch a sick note campaign tomorrow and continue their work-to-rule campaign until the authorities withdraw their decision to absorb the Provincial Council tax cadre to the department as it will affect their professional status including promotional prospects.

He revealed that a three-member committee appointed by the Commissioner General which has made this proposal has not consulted trade unions and it was made to satisfy the needs of Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara. The Treasury Secretary has convened a meeting of Provincial Council secretaries and the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue tomorrow to discuss this issue, he added.

Trade unions are also protesting against the arbitrary actions of the Tax Chief who is allegedly safeguarding corrupt officials of the department. Citing a recent example he noted that the failure to take disciplinary action against the officer involved in the Capri Club tax issue was a clear incident of favouritism of the Tax Chief. Trade unions say there is no proper HR plan with regard to allocation of duties even though the modernization programme was introduced spending a considerable amount of money.

He said that the unions had tried to obtain solutions for their demands and problems through negotiation with the authorities during the past few days but the authorities had ignored and shirked their responsibilities.

They also demand that suppression be stopped and employees be allowed to exercise their trade union rights. He said unions are also demanding that investigations into alleged corruption and swindling must be resumed immediately. Their last demand is the amending of the service constitution to enable thousands of their members to receive their just dues.

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