Trade unions at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), demanding the removal of their head and present Commissioner General K.M.S Kandegedera over various allegations, have been promised that their complaint would be looked into in the first week of April.
The assurance was given by Deputy Finance Minister Minister Geethanjana Gunawardene when he met unions on Tuesday to consider their grievances. Two of their problems were solved at the meeting paving the way for the unions to call off a ‘sick note’ protest and work-to-rule campaign.
Based on the assurance, the Finance Ministry decided not to implement the recommendations made by a 3-member committee headed by Mr Kandegedera to absorb to the permanent cadre 376 provincial tax officer, but by doing so have created uncertainty over the jobs of these regional officers.
The Committee had recommended that these officers have no work at provincial level due to the government’s decision to abolish BTT and replace it with NBT, and should be absorbed to the department. A spokesman of the Joint Committee of Trade Unions of the Sri Lanka Inland Revenue Service told the Business Times that they suspended their campaign following the assurance given by Deputy Minister Gunawardene on this issue. The latter also agreed to submit the IRD officers amended service minutes (service constitution) to the Finance Ministry for approval.
Allegations including the failure to take disciplinary action against the officer involved in the Capri club tax issue will be taken into consideration at the April meeting with the Deputy Minister, he said.
All IRD employees including the staff of 16 regional offices reported sick on Monday as a part of their work-to- rule campaign, paralyzing the official functions of the department. Most offices of the department were empty with staff numbering over 1,000 not at their tables or rooms.