Dissent emerges over strike handling

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The month long strike of the Union of Postal and Telecommunication Officers (UPTO) has led to the fissures between the coalition partners of the Peoples' Alliance Government (PA), which were already running deep over issues such as the privatisation of government assets, to widen further.

At today's trade union seminar, Vasudeva Nannayakkara MP (Lanka Samasamaja Party - LSSP) veteran leftist leader and an uncompromising champion of trade union rights, said that by making postal services an essential service, the Sri Lanka Government had delivered the first blow to the trade union movement in Sri Lanka.

The United National Party (UNP) had worked against the trade unions during its 17 year rule. The present Government was following suit. Therefore, said Mr. Nannayakkara, all the trade unions should unite and voice their opposition to this move. Otherwise, the working class in the country would be wiped out he said.

The general public should send a post card of protest to the Sri Lanka President asking the Government to keep its hands off the trade unions. But the fact of the matter was that even this sort of protests were ineffective because the Post Mistress General Soma Kotakadeniya was harassing the workers, he said.

Vasudeva Nannayakkara, a founder member of the Nava Samasamaja Party (NSSP), which broke away from the Trotskyite Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) in 1976, rejoined his parent party to fight the last General Election as part of the PA.

He is one of the few Sinhala leaders who has consistently stood up for the self-determination of the Tamil speaking people and has been staunch advocate of devolution of power as a solution to the ethnic problem.


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