ECONOMYNEXT – Porters of Pettah, Sri Lanka, known locally as nattamis have withdrawn from all labour demanding a fee hike that reflects the rising cost of living, media reports said.
The Nattami Union at the Pettah market organised the strike, according to reports, asking for increased compensation for loading and unloading goods by 15 rupees per load.
“With expenses increasing we can’t work at this rate now,” one nattami told a private TV station.
“Even a cup of plain (black) tea costs about 20-25 rupees,” he said.
For decades, the porters of Colombo have been handling and transporting goods from suppliers to retail shops. According to reports, the average nattami earns around 1500-2000 rupees a day.
Prices of wheat, milk powder, gas, sugar and other essential food items in Sri Lanka have skyrocketed in recent weeks. The government was recently forced to withdraw price controls which had led to artificial shortages amid a worsening foreign exchange crisis and a host of other economic woes, many of which analysts say are self-inflicted.
With prices increasing, bakery shops and food vendors have also increased the prices of their products. (Colombo/Nov22/2021)