|Sri Lanka: Work stoppage comes a cropper|
|Friday, 11 July 2008|
The work stoppage jointly organised by the UNP, the JVP and the Tamil National Alliance comes a cropper.The JVP initially said a massive strike by public employees, demanding a 5000 rupee salary increase, would be staged on July 10th. Thereafter, the UNP also pledged support. Both parties since then organised the work stoppage.
Many trade union representatives said it was not a workers struggle but a politically motivated effort, despite optimum measures adopted by the President with regard to a salary hike. The present Government had increased salaries of public employees on three occasions from 2004. The media loyal to the UNP, the JVP and the TNA were used for their propaganda to the maximum. The people were informed through this media that the entire country will come to a standstill on July 10th.
But a majority of media institutions clarified the real situation. Despite warnings from the UNP and the JVP that entire civilian life will be paralysed, trade unions asserted they will not be stakeholders of the strike. Accordingly, Electricity Board employees said they will not join the strike allaying public fears. Even Water Supply Board trade unions said they will not be supportive of the work stoppage, alleviating fears of a water problem. JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kantha claimed that the entire transport network will be crippled.
He emphasised in Parliament that he would resign should the strike prove a failure. But Minister Dulles Alahapperuma declared that transport will not become a problem. Trains and buses operated as usual today. The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association also operated buses sans heeding the call to strike. Under these circumstances, public employees reported for duty throughout the island. Schools and hospitals also functioned without interruptions.
Organisers said they arranged the July 10th strike reminiscing the 1980 July strike. But the 80 July Strikers Association denouncing this move, claimed that the UNP which fired hundreds of thousands of workers who demanded a ten rupee salary increase at that time and the JVP which attacked their demonstrations, had no moral authority to talk about workers’ rights. A large number of civilians who opposed the strike said it encouraged the LTTE at a time when successful operations are being carried out to obliterate terrorism. The TNA pledged support to the strike endorsing that it was a pro LTTE effort.
Terrorist leader Prabhakaran consented to the strike through pro LTTE websites. The strike launched with the support of a handful of their loyalists was a flop. The JVP as usual displayed its vandalism in the face of people’s opposition to the strike. The public assert that what Parliamentarian Lal Kantha should do was to give up his seat as he had said he would do so if the strike proved a failure.
(Courtesy : ITN Sri Lanka )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
|< Prev||Next >|