Colombo port unions end strike | Daily News


Colombo port unions end strike

No decision to divest Eastern Terminal - PM

Colombo Port trade unions called off the strike launched demanding the commencement of operations in the Eastern Terminal, following a meeting held with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The meeting was held at the Carlton House in Weeraketiya between the Prime Minister and representatives of 14 trade unions yesterday (2).

Action was taken by 23 Colombo Port trade unions demanding written assurance from the President that the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Port will stay under the purview of Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The trade unions withdrew from all duties with effect from Friday (31), bringing operations at the port to a standstill.

Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya Chairman Prasanna Kalutarage said,“We will call off this trade union action trusting the assurance given to us by the Prime Minister regarding the matter at hand. However, if the decisions are altered, we will go back to trade union action immediately. I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who supported us including Maha Sangha, media, civil organisations and social media activists.”

Kalutarage said their main concern was regarding the Cabinet Paper that has been prepared by the subject minister. “According to this Cabinet paper, to which we have got access, 49% of the Eastern Terminal will be given to a foreign company.

So we had a suspicion that they were going to sell the terminal. However, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured us that no such Cabinet Paper was discussed during a Cabinet meeting. He also assured us that they will not entertain such proposals either. Then, there was also an argument that there was an agreement signed by the Yahapalana government concerning the Eastern terminal, which cannot be turned back. However, told the Prime Minister that there was only a management of change and there was no memorandum of understanding concerning the terminal. With the Prime Minister’s response, we decided to temporarily call off our trade union action.”

 Kalutharage said directives have also been given to the Ports Authority administration to begin preparations relevant to bringing the Eastern terminal operational. “Following the meeting with the Prime Minister, we came back to the Ports Authority. When we came, the management had already commenced necessary activities that will enable the installation of equipment necessary for the Eastern terminal operations. So it too built our confidence. All 23 trade unions are hoping to extend their fullest support to the administration on these preparations. Approximately two weeks’ time will take for us to complete the preparations and commence the operations of the Eastern terminal.”

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