Animal sanctuary visitors hit by trackers’ demand

A work-to-rule campaign by wildlife trackers to press home a demand for salary arrears has hit the visitors to wildlife parks.

The trackers numbering some 600 have since Friday refused to work overtime and are insisting that the gates be opened and closed on schedule thereby affecting the free flow of foreign visitors to and from the parks.

The main demand of the trackers is to upgrade their wages to clerical status from the present labourers’ position. “We have been demanding this from 2006 but nothing has been forthcoming with the authorities turning a deaf year,” WildLife Trackers Association (WLTA) president Prabath Karunatilleke said.

He added that as a result of this trade union action the visitors will be forced to cut short their tours inside the parks since we will close the gates at 4 p.m. on the dot. “There will be no extra time, however big the rush may be,” he said. Wildlife Minister S. M. Chandrasena conceded that there has been an issue and a delay on the part of the Government to settle the matter since 2006, but pledged that their demand will be met tomorrow. “The trackers are demanding to be placed on level two in the clerical grade, but this cannot be done. They will be offered a clerical grade one position,” he said.

“There has been some misunderstanding. The letter confirming the trackers have been placed on the clerical grade had already been endorsed by the Ministry of Public Administration, but due to some delay it was not made known to the trackers,” Mr. Chandrasena added.

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