Private bus crews have planned a crippling islandwide strike on March 27.
The Secretary of the 40,000 strong All Ceylon Private Bus Employees Association (ACPBEA), Upul Premasiri told the media yesterday that the employees were facing numerous difficulties. `First and foremost we don`t get EPF and the ETF. This makes almost all our members centless after a long service. We also strongly feel about the job security. To add fuel to fire, police officers are taking undue advantages of the newly implemented motor traffic laws. In fact, it is the police officer who decides on the amount of the fine. Some of them have made it a habit to take money forcibly from us,` he added.
Premasiri believes that it is high time the government looks into their grievances. `In fact, last week we wrote to President Mahinda Rajapakse about our grievances. We are hopeful that he would look into it.`
He said when they took up the issue with the Deputy Transport Minister Lasantha Allagiwanna, in August last year, he had promised to solve the matter within seven to eight weeks. But with Presidential Elections, the Association did not proceed with their planned action.
He said that after 28 years of the association`s existence, yesterday`s press conference was the first.
ACPBEA Chairman Anura Susantha Boteju said: they were not against new laws and penalties but what hurts them is the role played by some police officers. `At the same time, we also have shortcomings. In fact, we had regrouped to tackle such problems`.