Port Unions call off strike on Mahinda’s assurances that ECT will not be given to foreigners

ECONOMYNEXT – The coalition of Trades Unions protesting against the handing over of the East Container Terminal to a foreign company has decided to call off the strike action after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured them it will not be handed over to a foreign party, the PM’s office said.

In a press release issued by the PM’s Media Secretary Rohan Welivita, Rajapaksa’s office said representatives of the Trade Union coalition which comprises 23 different bodies met with the PM and other officials today, Monday, February 1.

“The Prime Minister reassured the unions that the Terminal will be 100 per cent owned and operated by the Sri Lanka Port Authority,” the statement said.

When the Union Representatives asked for his guarantee in writing Rajapaksa had said he had solved many such disputes in the past and his word had been good enough.

Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunewardene who had also attended the meeting had said that as the company that had been approached to be a partner in the port had rejected the terms and conditions presented by the SLPA, he would be informing the Cabinet later today about the decision.

The Unions, according to the statement, had said they would stop the work rule union action from tomorrow.

However, MediaLK.com quoted one union leader Niroshan Gorakanage as saying that while they accept the word of the Prime Minister a final decision would be made after perusing the cabinet paper on the subject.

(Colombo, February 1, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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