Written by Staff Writer
11 Jun, 2019 | 9:23 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya of the Sri Lanka Transport Board says all its members will engage in an island-wide strike action with effect from midnight tonight (June 11).
Secretary of the JSS Main Branch in Narahenpita Ranjith Wijesiri said this decision was reached as solutions were not granted to their requests.
For almost two days JSS – SLTB workers were protesting opposite the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha and that was called off this evening.
Ranjith Wijesiri said they engaged in the protest citing several demands including to make permanent the 5100 members who were given promotions.
The group arrived at the UNP party headquarters last morning (June 10) in hopes of holding discussions with UNP general Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, regarding a number of issues including the failure to grant salary increments in line with their promotions.
However, the group later began the protest yesterday accusing the party general secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, of evading them.
The group remained at the party headquarters through the night yesterday and steps were taken to provide police protection to the area.
Member of the Jathika Sewaka Sangamaya Prabath Chaminda Nawarathne said their demands include the payment of salaries for proper appointments that were granted and the payment of these salaries on the 26th. He said they hope their demands will be met during the course of today.
Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment Daya Gamage arrived at the scene of the protest today.
“These people have clearly been affected by injustice. During the previous regime especially at the SLTB if an employee went for a UNP meeting he was sidelined. The group present here today were people who were subject to such vengeance. We must correct this. We will be doing that very soon.”
A meeting was held this afternoon between the protesters and the General Secretary of the UNP Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.
Chairman of the Jathika Sewaka Sangamaya Justin Kalupahana said Kariyawasam informed that he will not advise them in a manner that would affect the trade union rights. He noted that he (Kariyawasam) says that these demands should be given and there will be a discussion with the Prime Minister at 11.
The Chairman noted that Minister Akila Kariyawasam and Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will be at that discussion. He said if they do not receive a fair solution nothing can stop them from commencing a strike action tomorrow.
Though it was proposed to shift the protest to the Narahenpita SLTB office, the objection of another group resulted in the protestors remaining at Sirikotha.
News 1st spoke to the General Secretary of the JSS UNP MP Sirinal de Mel about this issue, he said that it is his opinion that the demands of these employees should be met.
He added that he hopes that the leaders will grant their demands and asked that details be obtained from current members of the JSS.
General Secretary of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya at the SLTB Head Office Ranjith Wijesiri said they are in a lot of pain as UNP supporters and there is no need for them to be in hunger and stay here without sleep if the leaders thought about the members of the JSS. He said they will have to wait till Sajith Premadasa becomes the President to solve this issue.
Chairman Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya of the SLTB Hatton Depot Rohana de Silva said the UNPers are now asking for a young leader and they are not asking for anyone else other than deputy leader Sajith Premadasa. He noted that they will make him the President of this country somehow and if the leader can’t solve our issue they will remove him and appoint their deputy leader.
The protestors then engaged in a special discussion at the Siri Kotha premises.
Ranjith Wijesiri said that this is the final stage of their struggle and the employees of all 106 depots will not report for duty after midnight tonight. He added that there is a discussion with the state minister at the ministry tomorrow.
He noted they will carry forward their struggle and if they receive a favourable solution they will stop the trade union action. The protestors then left the Siri Kotha UNP Headquarters.
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