Moves afoot to bring Sinhalese port workers to KKS harbour

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 17:32 GMT]
Commissioner of Essential Services (CoES) in Colombo is making arrangements to employ Sinhalese port workers in Kaangkeasanththu’rai (KKS) harbour in unloading goods shipped from Colombo, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Representatives of the consortium of Jaffna fisheries societies raised concern with the Government Agent of Jaffna on the likely loss of income of the peninsula fishermen who are currently employed as laborers in KKS harbor.

Following restrictions on fishing imposed by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in Jaffna, fishermen sought manual labor, and Fisheries societies became involved in allocating work for fishermen in Jaffna harbors.

Problems arose when the SLN authorities in KKS harbour refused to pay Kurunakar fishermen their due wages. The affected fishermen refused to work and the dispute resulted in ships waiting in KKS harbour without the goods being unloaded.

GA Jaffna had to pay nearly one and half million rupees as delay charges to the shipping companies, Jaffna Secretariat sources said.

Sinhalese workers from South were employed in KKS harbour earlier but were sent back due to lack of productivity and behavioural issues, fisheries society representatives said.

If the dispute is not amicably settled, fisher families will be further affected and the prices of consumer goods will likely rise further, civil society officials warned.

 

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