A group of Sri Lankan workers who lost their jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis while working for a Chinese company contracted for construction in the Colombo Port City launched a protest in Colombo yesterday (11).
The China Harbour Company, which halted their employment five months ago due to the COVID-19 contagion, continued the operations only with the Chinese workers, despite the country being returned to normalcy.
In the backdrop that even schools have been reopened, the company's operations excluded the employment of the Sri Lankan workers, they grieved, revealing that they have neither been summoned back to work, nor paid the minimum wage of Rs. 14,500 declared by the government.
This group, of about 50 employees, has been working on the project for 2-5 years.
The company had paid them only a monthly allowance of Rs. 5,000 and had not even responded to orders issued by the Labour Department regarding complaints made by workers, they revealed.
A group of Labour Department officials, who visited the site, revealed that the company had ignored the email communications and calls for negotiations to pay workers.
The workers questioned, whether Sri Lanka was under the control of China, judging by the fact that the company China Harbour continues to avoid and act arbitrarily even when the Minister of Labour was informed of the situation.