Written by Tharushan Fernando
03 Jul, 2016 | 8:57 pm
The countrywide private bus strike which was scheduled to commence at midnight has been called off, following discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena.
Members of the Private Bus Operators Unions participated in a special discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday morning. Union representatives who participated in the meeting noted that the President had promised them an audience on Wednesday to resolve their issues.
President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association, Gemunu Wijeratne noted that the the discussions held with the president were very fruitful.
“The Minister of Transport is the one who pushed us to hold the strike”, he said and added that the responsibility in this regard should be borne by him.
He added that the president listened patiently and arrived at a decision that he will focus his attention on the issue during the Cabinet meeting. A and as a mark of respect for the president the strike action was temporarily called off.
Chairman of the Southern Province Private Bus Association, Chandana de Soyza added that the Minister of Transport did not even speak for ten minutes and said to ‘commence a strike if we can’.
“We will show the minister how we strike”, charged the chairman who further noted that the Honourable President, even after holding a discussion for two hours, did not get up from his seat even after the conclusion of the discussion – and that is what is called democracy.
Private bus owners contribute to most of the country’s public transport system.The associations claim that around 20,000 private buses are utilised daily.However, these private bus owners associations prepared for another strike demanding that the bus fares be increased. According to the national policy the revision of bus fares will take place after considering twelve factors including the fuel price, the prices of bus spare parts and the increase of service charges.
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