Written by Amani Nilar
30 Jan, 2022 | 7:48 am
COLOMBO (News 1st); Several trade unions took steps on Saturday (29) to disagree with the statement made by the Minister of Justice, Ali Sabry on restricting trade union action for workers at country’s economic focal points.
Accordingly, the Minister said that action should be taken to restrict trade union action waged by Ports, Customs, Water Supply, Electricity Board, Petroleum Corporation and Government Medical Officers’ Association and legal action should be taken via the constitution itself to ensure that such action is restricted.
Trade union representatives in several sectors expressed their distaste with regard to this statement, including the Petroleum Trade Union Confederation Convener Ananda Palitha, who demanded whether the steps taken by the country at the United Nations Human Rights Council in March to secure human rights in Sri Lanka would include these restrictions.
Further demanding that the the Minister of Labor should not stay silent on the matter, Palitha pointed out that trade union action is a means of protesting when ports, oil, electricity, water and the local revenue departments have been put up for sale or given to foreign entities.
Palitha also went onto say that the the Prime Minister should reject this, and citing the President who said in his speech that he would protect human rights, should simply not allow this statement.
“It should be withdrawn immediately, and should be declared not as a statement issued by the Government,” he mentioned.
He also added that if the Minister of Justice does not resign, the government should remove him from office and acknowledge that it is upholding the standards of international agreement.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Ceylon Teacher’s Union, Joseph Starlin stated that it is truly unfortunate that the Minister of Justice of the Government has made such statements regarding strikes and is speaking of taking steps to bring in laws that threaten the right to protest.
“I would like to say that if such a thing is really done, all the trade unions will definitely unite against it,” he mentioned.
Moreover, the Chairman of the Port Free Employees Union, Prasanna Kalutarage stated that if the people of this country are working to abolish democracy in this country instead of providing some relief to alleviate the burden of living, it should be investigated whether the Ministers have cognitive issues.
The Chairman of the Joint Board of Paramedical Professionals, Ravi Kumudesh said that trade unions continue to go on strike because such ministers are not fulfilling their responsibilities.
Whether it may be a conscious statement or an unconscious one, the people will have to experience the consequences of such statements in the future, he added.
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