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We must defeat trade union terrorism: Sagala


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Minister of Youth Affairs, Project Management and Southern Development and Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka in a statement said people must unite to defeat trade union terrorism. Following is the full statement:

Several railway trade unions sunk to a new low last evening when they launched an unannounced strike, inconveniencing tens of thousands of passengers that use the railway service on a daily basis. The commuters were detained against their will by trade union leaders who showed callous disregard for the interests of the public – particularly young students currently sitting for their A/L examination. What they demonstrated yesterday was nothing but “trade union terrorism”, which elevates the unfair demands of a handful of trade unions above all else. 

It goes without saying that we, as a country, must work together to defeat this “trade union terrorism” in the same way we defeated the separatist terrorism which crippled the nation for over three decades. 

While we have the greatest respect for trade unions and their rights, it is imperative trade unions act in a civilised manner within an ethical framework. Launching unannounced union actions at peak hours targeting hapless and vulnerable commuters returning home to their loved ones after a long day of work, is unacceptable. Engaging in strike action must be the last resort of trade unions and not something performed at any provocation. It is within this context that we have to understand the public outrage following the trade union action last evening.

As a Government, we are duty-bound to protect the rights of everyone alike both strikers and protestors. We have to make sure law and order is maintained and commuters return home to their families safely. It is with this in mind that we acted to diffuse the tense situation that had developed in the Colombo Fort area. 

Our Government is responsible and respects the worker for fighting for his demands, but our commitment to the tenets of democracy and human rights should not be perceived as weakness. We will take every possible action to defeat this ugly “trade union terrorism”; for this we request the support of the public – we must work to defeat these unruly elements who have no qualms about holding the entire country to ransom.


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