CPC on strike against bid to sell assets to China, India

Panicked consumers lined outside petrol sheds making lengthy queues yesterday evening as Petroleum workers announced a continuous strike starting from midnight.

President of the Ceylon Petroleum General Workers’ Union Ashoka Ranwala yesterday told The Island that they had decided to resort to strike action as the government had failed to respond positively to three main demands by unionists, including an assurance that the government would stop handing over the Bunkering Facility and Tank Farm Project located in Hambantota to China.

The other issues were handing over the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm to India and selling the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery to a private company, Ranawala said.

He said the unions had suspended a previous strike following an assurance given by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the government would not hand over the bunkering facility and Tank Farm located at Hambantota to China. The Prime Minister promised to find a solution favourable to the country, but the latest developments indicated that he had backtracked his promise, Ranawala said.

“There are reports that a paper is scheduled to be submitted at today’s Cabinet meeting to hand over the bunkering Facility and Tank Farm Project located in Hambantota to China. We believe we have been taken for a ride.” He said they would continue their strike till the government withdrew its plans to sell off CPC properties.

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