Striking unions to be banned
Angry JVP hits out and seeks meeting
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
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if those laws were not withdrawn.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.