Message of H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, on International Workers’ Day / 1st May/ May Day / International Labour Day.
As promised to the people, our government has safeguarded national security and sovereignty. Similarly, we have ensured that no harm would befall to our national legacy and heritage. Steps are being taken implement policies for the growth of local industries and agriculture-based economy. A clear, well-defined economic plan has been formulated and being implemented to eradicate poverty, which is the biggest burden faced by a substantial segment of the working class.
The working community is one of the most adversely affected groups in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has clearly understood that reality faced by our working masses. Hence, the government is working with commitment to ensure better living standards for its citizens without imposing limitations that obstruct the economic activities of the working people.
The maximum benefit received by the working masses and their families was the programme implemented to provide employment for unskilled individuals without any formal or professional education selected from underprivileged families. The government has supported the life struggle of the working people by providing the provision of an allowance of Rs. 5,000 to low-income families.
The government committed itself to distribute the Rs.5,000 allowance to the people even during the New Year festive season. The right of the working people was safeguarded by ensuring that all public sector employees were given their full salaries without any deductions and continuing to maintain all public welfare programmes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the government raised the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs 1,000 each in order to raise the living standards of those people.
The working people, especially the farmers in our country, will reap the benefits of the local economy that is being strengthened by the import restrictions imposed on 19 goods. We are aware that you have been strengthened and empowered by the move to remove barriers to sell farmers’ produce during the festive season. Projects such as the Gama Samaga Pilisandara (Discussion with the Village) and Weda Samaga Yali Gamata (Back to the Village with Work) are directly embedded in the lives of working people in the country today.
The working people have to refrain from celebrating May Day and holding rallies for the second consecutive year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we are aware of the strength of your struggle and its determination and commitment. While extending my gratitude for joining hands with the cause to establish a people-centric economy, I wish you a happy International Labour Day with the joy of securing international labour rights.
May the working people of our country be victorious! – Gotabaya Rajapaksa.