JVP rejects President’s call

Party decides to go ahead with general strike on July 10; UNP unions also likely to join

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday rejected a call from President Mahinda Rajapaksa for talks today to avert a general strike planned by its trade unions. “We are willing to take part in talks only to discuss the demands we have put forward,” JVP parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha told The Sunday Times last night.

Mr. Lal Kkantha is the Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre of the JVP which has planned a one-day general strike in the state sector on July 10. Its main demand is a wage increase of Rs 5,000 a month.

The NTUC has under its umbrella 366 trade union organizations. However, representatives of 142 other trade unions have said they would attend the talks at Temple Trees today. Mr. Lal kantha said “these trade unions are being summoned so that they will just tell what the President wants to hear. This will in no way affect our planned strike”.

President Rajapaksa has been informed in writing that the strike action will be carried out if the JVP trade unions’ demands are not met. Trade unions backed by the UNP are likely to join the July 10 general strike, parliamentarian Johnston Fernando, president of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya said last night. “We will take a final decision this week,” he said.

Mr. Fernando said the UNP-backed trade unions had not been invited for talks with the President.

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