Sri Lanka: Striking postal workers criticise the trade unions
26 June 2018
Hundreds of postal workers held demonstrations yesterday in several parts of Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Ambalangoda, Kaluthara and Trincomalee in support of their demands. The national strike of more than 25,000 postal workers that began on June 11 has now entered its third week.
The government is adamant that it will not grant the workers’ demand to abolish the 2006 circular, which has affected promotion and slashed salaries. The minister of postal services, M.H.A Haleem, yesterday evening stated that a “solution” would be found today, but did not say how. Last week he attacked the strike as being “politically motivated” and aimed at “toppling the government.”
On his instructions, postal authorities cancelled the leave of postal workers and threatened to sack those who failed to report for duty by June 19. The government also took a decision to deploy police at post offices. Despite these threats, however, the government failed to break the strike.
The National Salary and Cadre Commission (NSCC) told the press that the government has no money to grant the workers’ demands. The NSCC declared that “it will cost the government” an additional 8 billion rupees ($US51 million), adding that granting the demands would create “complications” and anomalies in relation to other public sector workers.
The government has intensified its implementation of the economic reforms dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including freezing salaries and the privatization of public services, including the postal department.
The Joint Postal Trade Union Collective (JPTUC) and Union of Postal and…