Written by Staff Writer
27 Feb, 2019 | 10:00 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Several demonstrations and protests took place around the country today (Feb 27).
1. Joint Unemployed Graduates’ Union
The march organized by the Joint unemployed graduates’ union commenced this morning from the Galle Face Green. As a result of this protest, Police took steps to close the road between Ceramic Junction and Galle Face roundabout for nearly 2 hours. The protesters marched towards the Presidential Secretariat but were obstructed by Police barriers. Subsequently, Police allowed several representatives of the Joint Unemployed Graduates’ Union to hold discussions with officials from the Ministry of Finance.
Speaking to the media, Convener of the Joint Unemployed Graduates’ Union Venerable Thanne Gnanananda Thero said that the officials commented that they will allocate money from this year’s budget when it is presented on March 5th. The Thero noted that after assessing the amount of money allocated and if it is favorable, they will call off the protests. He warned the officials that if the budget is not favorable, they will commence protests from the very next day.
2. Association of Public and Provincial Public Management Assistant Service
The Association of Public and Provincial Public Management Assistant Service employees held a demonstration, obstructing Lotus Road in Colombo. They engaged in the protest citing 13 demands including pay hikes. Over 1,000 employees from across the island joined this protest. While Police had obstructed the protesters from entering the Presidential Secretariat, several employees representing the trade union were allowed to meet with the President in the evening. The protesters later arrived at Temple Trees.
General Secretary of the association Lalith Dharmasena noted that the coordinating secretary of the Prime Minister provided them with a written agreement. He said while they commend the President and Prime Minister for their prompt intervention into this matter, and hope their demands are met during the next 2 to 3 weeks, if not, they will continue this struggle.
3. Government Executive Officers’ Association
The Government Executive Officers’ Association says the token strike currently being carried out by them has crippled the day to day activities of many Ministries and State Departments. They engaged in this strike, opposing the pay hike given only to legal officers. The Association added that this token strike is a result of the failed negotiations between them and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which took place yesterday (Feb 26).
Fifteen trade unions including the Sri Lanka Administrative Services Association took part in this token strike and several demonstrations were organized in line with this strike at several places including Galle, Kandy, and Kurunegala.
Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara notes that they have ensured that, by the end of this government’s tenure, all state sector employees’ salaries will be doubled. He said against such a backdrop, they have engaged in protests due to various political reasons. The minister pointed out that the strike is unfair and is one which is being carried out on instructions of rival politicians. Therefore, he kindly requested everyone to report to work.
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