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Sri Lankan contract workers struggle to survive amid pandemic

Church urged to do more to help those reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis

UCA News reporter, Katunayake

UCA News reporter, Katunayake

Published: October 28, 2020 09:25 AM GMT

Updated: October 28, 2020 09:48 AM GMT

Sri Lankan contract workers struggle to survive amid pandemic

A security officer stands guard at the deserted Mulleriyawa commercial area in Colombo on Oct. 25 after the area was placed under a lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 cases. (Photo: AFP)

Nirosh Appuhamy has been a contract worker for Sri Lanka's National Water Supply and Drainage Board for three years.

His initial monthly salary was 15,000 rupees (US$81), rising to 16,000 rupees after two years.

"The salary of a person doing a permanent job in my own position is 35,000 rupees," said Appuhamy, referring to his hard work in the field in the sun.

Contract workers are in a vulnerable situation. They receive their wages at the end of the month through a manpower agency after their commission is deducted and are not given salary slips. Such workers do not receive any of the rights permanent workers are entitled to.

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