Countrywide strikes from today as trade union actions continue

More employees of many crucial sectors including health, ports and banking will step up their trade union actions from today (March 13), in protest of the conduct of the government.

The trade union collective of professionals recently flashed a red light, threatening to bolster their actions this week to urge the government to reduce the heavy taxation, electricity tariffs and interest rates.

Multiple trade unions representing many sectors engaged in protests and strikes last week, unaccompanied by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA).

However, the GMOA members are on strike at a number of hospitals across the country from today, in support of the ongoing trade union actions of professionals.

Accordingly, the government medical officers have launched a token strike from 8.00 a.m. this morning at all hospitals in Western, Southern, Central and Eastern provinces, GMOA’s media spokesperson according to Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe.

In addition, the All-Ceylon Nurses’ Union, Joint Trade Union Alliance of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), All-Ceylon General Ports Employees’ Union, Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union, Government and Semi-Government Trade Union Collective and the Trade Union Collective of Teachers and Principals are also expected to kick off protests and strikes this week.

Meanwhile, the members of the Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union have reported to work clad in black to express their dissatisfaction with the conduct of the government.

Against this backdrop, the ports authority employees have decided to engage in a work-to-rule action for 48 hours from today.

The convenor of National Trade Union Coordination Centre, Wasantha Samarasinghe meanwhile, said they are planning to launch an island-wide strike on March 15 if the government fails to respond positively to their demands.

Commenting on the matter, State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya took issue with the ongoing trade union actions. He noted that staging strikes and protests as Sri Lanka is closing in on unlocking the USD 2.9 billion IMF bailout package and the tourism sector is seeing an improvement with the increasing number of tourist arrivals could disrupt the recovery process and bring the country to a standstill. – ada derana

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