Written by Staff Writer
02 Aug, 2020 | 8:41 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Port workers called off their strike and Satyagraha campaign that was launched this week.
“The decision was made following a discussion with the Prime Minister,” Prasanna Kalutharage, leader of the Independent Port Employee’s Union said.
Port employees had begun a strike and a Satyagraha campaign urging that the Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal be brought under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority instead of being sold to India.
They demanded the government to provide a written assurance about the ECT before the parliamentary election.
While civil groups and politicians expressed support to the trade union action, Buddhist monks, representatives of civil groups, and trade unions arrived at the premises of the Colombo Port today.
A discussion was held between port trade unions and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Carlton House in Tangalle.
14 trade unions participated in the discussion.
Following talks with the Prime Minister, trade unions said that they would announce their decision after discussing the matter with other trade union leaders.
Accordingly, trade union leaders who arrived at the Colombo Port around 1.00 PM on Sunday (2nd August), announced that they would suspend their trade union action.
“We told the Prime Minister that we engaged in the trade union action because of the cabinet paper signed by minister Johnston Fernando. The Prime Minister then raised an accusation stating some among the 23 of us are being used as pawns by a political entity,” said Shyamal Sumanarathna from the Trade Union Collective to protect the East Container Terminal.
According to Shyamal Sumanarathna, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that such a proposal had not been submitted before subcommittee meetings. He further said that such proposals will not be approved even if they are put forward.
Speaking about the matter in Kurunegala, Minister of Ports and Naval Affairs Johnston Fernando said those who have been politically bankrupted, are trying hard to get highlighted at instances of this nature.
“What’s their allegation? They charge that Johnston Fernando is trying to sell the port. Can I just sell a port? Am I the President of this country? Am I the Prime Minister of this country?” Minister of Ports and Naval Affairs questioned.
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