Petroleum unions give ultimatum on privatization, CEB unions contemplate future action

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 May 2005, 16:54 GMT]
Joint Trade Unions' Federation (JTUF) of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Wednesday issued an ultimatum to the United Peoples Freedom Alliance government to openly give an assurance before 31st May on the question of privatising the CPC according to conditions laid down by the international lenders, trade union sources said.

The UPFA government has agreed to sell a part of the state run CPC to raise 88 million US Dollars to restructure the loss-making electricity utility, sources said.

CPC employees Wednesday held a one-hour picketing during lunch hour against the privatisation of the CPC.

Several trade unions have warned that the government would collapse if it continues to privatise state institutions and services, sources said.

Meanwhile, fourteen thousand member strong Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Trade Union Collective Wednesday announced at the conclusion of a four hour token strike that it would meet on Thursday to decide on the future course of action on government's move to restructure the CEB, TU sources said.

The four-hour token strike ended around four in the evening Wednesday. Several areas in the south including Colombo, Negombo, Badulla, and Mahiyangana experienced power disruption due to the token strike, sources said.

The cabinet of ruling UPFA government was scheduled to meet Wednesday to take a final decision regarding the restructuring of the CEB, which is now running at a heavy loss. Earlier the government decided to put on hold the plan to restructure the CEB due to strong opposition by one of its constituent Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). CEB trade unions sources now say that the government is going ahead with the original plans despite opposition.


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