Ceylon Petroleum Workers Union warned of tough trade union action, if the government failed to make arrangements to assign the Fuel Facility Yard at the Hambantota Port to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) as promised.
“If the government fails to hand over the Fuel Facility Yard to the CPC and go ahead with endorsing the Port deal with the China Merchant Company, which is expected to happen on 1 October, the trade unions would take a tough stance,” a spokesman for the CPC said.
He warned that trade union action will be launched together with all patriotic forces in order to protect this valuable resource.
He said the government is prepared to hand over the Hambantota Port to the China Merchant Company from 1 October without handing over the Hambantota Fuel Facilities Yard to the CPC.
The CPC has also echoed the warning in a letter sent to President Maithripala Sirisena on 25 September.
Explaining the facts to Ceylon Today, Convener of the CPC Trade Unions Collective Janaka Rajakaruna said, as the first citizen of the country, the President has violated the promise that he gave to the entire nation regarding the Hambantota Port.
“We temporarily suspended the planned 26 July massive strike that was to be launched across the entire country due to the promise given by the President. During our discussions with him, he promised to fulfil our demands.
However, the government signed the agreement to hand over the Hambantota Port to the China Merchant Company on 29 July.
On that occasion the President once again told us that, the agreement can be amended at any time and that a special Clause regarding that had been included in the agreement and as a result he would be able to fulfil the promise he made to us. At the same time the President said he will hold a discussion with the China Merchant Company and arrange to obtain the Hambantota Port Fuel Facilities Yard. However, now more than one and a half months have lapsed but the promise has not been fulfilled,” Rajakaruna charged.
He further said that, instead of doing that, the authorities at the CPC have taken revenge from the employees of the CPC who participated in the strike.
He pointed out that several employees were transferred, others demoted and gratuity payments were not honoured.
Although the Minister in charge Arjuna Ranatunga was informed about these developments, he also had said that acts of revenge continue unabated.
The CPC trade unions are engaged in a struggle for quite a while based on two issues.
They are insisting on the handing over of the Hambantota Port Fuel Yard and the Trincomalee China Bay Oil Tanks to the CPC and the reconstruction work of the oil refinery at Sapugaskanda to be carried out by the Sri Lankan Government