Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, has taken steps to submit a memorandum to the Cabinet to add an allowance of Rs. 15,000 to the salary of prison officers.

The Minister has also decided to discuss this with the President and the Cabinet and the Treasury in the next few days.

The prison officials demanded an allowance of Rs. 20,000.

However, the Secretary of the Ministry discussed with all the parties including the Prison Commissioner General on this matter and it was proposed to give an allowance of Rs. 15,000.

The Minister announced this at a press conference held yesterday (20) at the Justice Ministry Auditorium.

The Minister expressing his views to the media said, “Prison officials in several prisons including Colombo are engaged in trade union action conducting a strike without presenting the accused who should be produced in court today. Prison officials are committed to the judicial process. Officials involved in judicial affairs are not able to resort to trade union action. What kind of action will be taken regarding non-fulfilment of responsibilities and duties to the Court cannot be expressed.”

“Prior to 2013, salary increases have been made to police officers and prison officers at the same level. But since 2013, there has been an increase in the salaries of the police officers, but there has not been an increase in the salaries of the prison officers.”

“Therefore, there is a wage disparity. We have discussed this issue on several occasions, paying attention to it. We submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet of Ministers on October 9, 2023, regarding the salary increase for prison officers.”

“It was proposed to give this allowance until the allowances related to the respective grades are decided. But at that time, the government decided to give an allowance of Rs. 10,000 to the entire public service sector. But still we discussed on several occasions about the increase in allowance of prison officers.”

“They have launched a trade union action by not reporting to work having applied sick leave based on their salary issue. We accept that their demands are reasonable. But attention should be paid to the economic situation of the country. Therefore, it has been decided to submit a memorandum to the Cabinet of Ministers to provide an allowance of Rs. 15,000 to fulfil those demands.”

“We are discussing it with the Cabinet, the President, and the Treasury. We have not ignored their problem. We accept that justice and fairness should be meted out to their demands. But they do not have the ability to subvert the judicial process. They have refused to report to work today.”

“In the past, the overtime allowance of prison officials was limited and we worked to provide solutions to that problem. Until 2013, salary increases were made equally for the police service and the prison officer service. But since 2013, the salaries of the police have been increased, but the salaries of the prison officers have not been increased. Therefore, an injustice has occurred to the prison officials. Hence, their demands should be met.”

The Minister stated that necessary steps will be taken to resolve the salary disparity issue.

Justice Ministry Secretary Nihal Ranasinghe, Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya and other senior prison officials were also present.



(Daily News)

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