Labour bills provoke general strike threat
[TamilNet, Monday, 06 January 2003, 23:14 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s opposition trade unions and several
powerful independent unions said Monday they will
start general agitations and strikes to compel the
United National Front government to abandon the tough
labour laws it intends to introduce soon. Trade union
leaders speaking at a press conference Monday in
Colombo, said there will be a one day token strike in
all parts of the island except the northeast and if it
does not change the government’s mind on the new laws
then they would call for a general strike.
| Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha|
Addressing the press meet, opposition leader Mr.Mehinda Rajapaksha, said there will demonstrations against the proposed labour laws in all parts of the island except the northeast at noon Tuesday.
The bills for the proposed labour laws are to be taken
up in Parliament Tuesday.
The UNF government did not consult workers or trade
unions about the proposed labour laws but took into
consideration only the interests of multinational
companies when it drafted the bills,” said Mr. Leslie
Devendra, a senior trade union leader, speaking at the
| Police stopping trade union activists from marching towards Temple Trees|
Following the press conference, more than three
hundred activists and members of trade unions aligned
to the JVP demonstrated in front of the Fort Railway
station in downtown Colombo and later went on a
protest march from there around 3.30 p.m. to the Prime
Minister’s residence to hand over a bundle of
petitions against the proposed labour laws.
Special Task Force commandos were deployed on the
route of the march. The STF put up concertina
barricades on Galle Road, on the main approach to the
Temple Trees the Sri Lankan PM’s official residence.
The STF positioned a water cannon behind the
The protestors were stopped ahead of the STF barricade
by the Police who dissuaded them from going towards
the Temple Trees, where the Prime Minister Mr. Ranil
Wickremesinghe was scheduled to receive the Japanese
Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi in the evening.
| A trade union activist marching with the bundle of petitions |
The protestors then went to the PM’s office in the
exclusive Colombo suburb in Flower and handed over the
petitions to officials there.