Unions oppose privatization of filling stations

Trade unions in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have urged Petroleum Minister A.H.M.Fowzie to acquire one-third of the CPC shares held by the Treasury instead of planning to give them over to a private company.
On Thursday trade union representatives met with Minister Fowzie to urge him to acquire one-third of the CPC shares - 100 filling stations - immediately instead of waiting until 2008 when the agreement with the Treasury lapses. JVP trade union president in the CPC Lakshman Ananda told The Sunday Times that his union was aware of discussions between the minister and private petroleum dealers to go ahead with privatization plans.Last week Minister Fowzie told The Sunday Times that the Government had decided to transfer 100 sheds owned by it to a private company to be set up.
However Petroleum Ministry Secretary .P.A. Gunasekara reacting to the news item said that the Ministry has not decided to privatize any of the filling stations owned by the CPC and the minister denied his own statement.
Elaborating on his plans Minister Fowzie last week said the Government wanted to avert the third player coming into the country and the IOC taking control of more sheds. Petroleum Dealers’ Association members confirmed to The Sunday Times that they had discussed with the Ministry and his Secretary about plans to privatize the CPC shares. Association administrative secretary Asoka Mallawarachchi told The Sunday Times three meetings were held with the minister and among other issues discussed was the proposal on privatizing the sheds.
“We told the minister that we are the most eligible persons to operate the private company”, he said.
Trade union representatives told the minister that if plans to privatize the sheds are carried out they would launch a trade union campaign. Minister Fowzie said he would be submitting a report on the issue to the Cabinet sub-committee which was appointed earlier to decide on the issue about introducing the third player.

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