Police fire tear gas on procession

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Police fired in the air and threw tear gas bombs to disperse a large procession of striking estate workers in the hill country town of Hatton this morning around 11 a.m.

More than ten thousand plantation workers who are currently on strike demanding a wage hike were marching through the town when the Police had stopped procession said sources.

Some reports said that several marchers were injured in the stampede which followed the Police firing.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan President will be holding talks tomorrow morning with the representatives of plantation companies to get them to agree on a new wage arrangement about which she had talks with the leader of the Ceylon Workers' Congress Mr. S. Thondaman yesterday.

The trade unions, however, are not ready to accept the condition upon which the plantation companies want to grant the wage increase of 95 rupees and a wage-price supplement of 6 rupees (the unions are asking for 105 rupees).

The companies want a guarantee from the unions that they will not demand wage increases for two years if the raise and the supplement are to be granted. The workers do not want the supplement because it was promised in 1996 and was never given.

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