Petroleum workers strike fizzles out as armed forces step in

Petroleum workers strike fizzles out as armed forces step in

Petroleum workers strike fizzles out as armed forces step in

Written by Keshala Dias

26 Jul, 2017 | 10:42 pm

Employees of the Petroleum Corporation reported to work once again this afternoon after having launched a trade union action yesterday.

Representatives of the Petroleum Trade Unions Collective said it’s workers agreed to return to work to provide essential services.

The Petroleum Trade Unions Collective launched the strike action in protest against the handing over of the China-bay oil tanks to India and Hambantota port oil tanks to China.

The fuel distribution process at petroleum storage terminals in Kolonnawa, Muthurajawela, Anuradhapura and Peradeniya were hampered as a result of the strike action.

Following the announcement that these services have been declared as essential services as of midnight yesterday, the armed forces were dispatched to the Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela petroleum storage terminals.

The police had to be dispatched to the Kolonnawa petroleum storage terminal as it’s employees did not allow the armed forces to enter the premises.

However, within an hour, the armed forces tactically entered the storage terminal and took measures to vacate the employees.

Even though a large group of employees reported to work this morning, they were not allowed to enter the premises of the storage terminal.

Military personnel took measures to dispatch bowsers carrying fuel from a rear entrance of the terminal as trade union representatives were obstructing the main entrance of the premises.

A train which arrived to transport fuel for aircraft this afternoon, was met with obstructions from trade union representatives.

Thereafter the police, citing a court order granted the trade union representatives twenty minutes to move before enacting the court order.

With the twenty minute period granted coming to an end, the court order came into action prompting the police and Police Special Task Force to arrest several trade union activists.

Moments later, employees of the petroleum storage terminal reported to work.

Sixteen trade union representatives who were taken into custody were later released on police bail.

Security forces personnel were also dispatched to the petroleum storage terminals in Anuradhapura and Kandy.

The distribution of fuel has now been restored.

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