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.

Labour bills provoke general strike threat.
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 press conference.

Labour bills provoke general strike threat
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 barricade.

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.

Labour bills provoke general strike threat
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.

 

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