ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 17

Striking unions to be banned

Angry JVP hits out and seeks meeting with President

The JVP is up in arms over tough new emergency regulations under which any trade union that disrupts essential services will face a ban and freezing of its funds.

The party’s trade union spokesman K.D. Lal Kantha told The Sunday Times they would seek a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the regulations which he believed would cripple trade union activities.

The JVP-backed unions recently launched crippling strikes in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Colombo Port. Similarly, JVP unions in the Ceylon Electricity Board have threatened to launch a one-day strike causing countrywide blackouts if their demand for salary increases are not granted.

The regulations which were gazetted under the Public Security Ordinance recently with certain sectors being declared as essential were approved by parliament as part of the emergency regulations.

Mr. Lal Kantha expressed shock that such anti-trade union laws had been introduced under the guise of emergency regulations and warned that his party would reconsider its support for the emergency if those laws were not withdrawn.

Under the regulations, a person who fails to carry out his or her duties in any sector declared as an ‘essential service’ will be deemed to have vacated the post with immediate effect.

The terms and conditions of employment, contract or other laws will not be taken into account in enforcing the regulation to terminate the service.

All health services, distribution of fuel, supply of electricity, maintenance of postal and telecommunication services, public services, maintenance of transport and distribution of food supplies have been declared as essential and strikes in these sectors will be illegal. All services related to export of garments and other commodities as well as the management of tea, rubber, and coconut plantations also have been declared as “essential services” under these regulations.

Health Services Trade Union Alliance leader Saman Rathnapriya also came out strongly against the new emergency regulations. He said the regulations went beyond what was internationally regarded as essential services and included garment factories also in the list of essential services.

He said the regulations were a gross abuse of executive power.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.