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May Day messages

Private sector pension a proud achievement - President

The introduction of a pension scheme for the private sector by a government which has always upheld the rights of the working class is an achievement that the entire nation can be proud of, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his May Day message.
He also says that the government has speeded up the process of granting due rights to the workers after winning the war on terrorism.
President Rajapaksa also says in his May Day message: “I consider it a privilege to be able to extend greetings to the working class in this country on this occasion.
“It is with a sense of pride that we recall on this Day the international recognition we have won as a country which has implemented in full measure the covenants of the World Labour Organization. I also must take this opportunity to extend my grateful thanks to the working class of this country, whose productive labour has enabled us to achieve an eight percent growth rate,
“After defeating terrorism, we have accelerated the process of granting rights to the working class. Our being able to introduce a pension scheme for the private sector as a government that has understood the aspirations of the working class is a great achievement that the entire nation can be proud of. This pension scheme paves the way for a better future for the workers now contributing to the EPF. As a person who has fought for the rights of the workers with great dedication I derive immense joy from this achievement.
“Action has been taken to increase the quantum of compensation payable to workmen falling victim to accidents while on duty. The Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance has been amended accordingly. We have also wrapped up draft legislation designed to eliminate child labour completely. Our women also form an important segment of our workforce. Therefore, it is imperative that legislation concerning their rights and privileges be enacted. This matter is also receiving the serious attention of the government.”
Ranil sees suppression of working class
The rights of the working class are being suppressed on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the people’s hope of a programme of work that could ensure their well being has shattered, says Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in his May Day message.
Opposition leader Wickremesinghe also says in his message: “The workers the world over are celebrating the May Day today with a sense of pride. The strength and dedication of the working class constitute the key factor that contributes towards the progress of the country.
“It appears that the present government is set to prune the rights of the workers by arbitrarily taking over the EPF and the ETF through the proposed new Pension Act.
“No action has been taken to uplift the quality of living of the estate workers who are undergoing immense hardship. The increase in the price of wheat flour and kerosene has dealt a hard blow to them. It is to be regretted that no action has been taken to increase their daily wage to cushion this blow.
“The government had promised on a number of occasions to grant a pay hike to private and public sector workers and has now gone back on this promise. Many serious issues relating to the pay and rights of university teachers have come up. But the government has no solutions to any of these issues.
“Violation of the rights of workers has become a daily feature. Meanwhile, people have lost hope of the government capability of carrying out any programme that could ensure their well being. Therefore, I invite the workers to join hands with us to form a government capable of putting an end to the suffering of the masses.”