- Says TU Leader transferred out of SLIC HQ without any justifiable cause
- Claims SLIC has adopted repressive measures against workers opposing privatisation of the organisation
- Condemns SLIC for engaging in unfair labour practices and for intimidating and harassing TU Leader
Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU) President and human rights lawyer Swasthika Aruligam yesterday accused the management of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) of engaging in unfair labour practices over its recent decision to transfer Insurance General Employees Union (IGEU) General Secretary Diwakara Athugala.
Aruligam said Athugala has been transferred without any justifiable cause. She also accused the management of blocking him from entering his work premises thereafter.
“Yesterday he tried to enter the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation to speak to the members of the Union. He was blocked from entering his own workplace by the management. Why is the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation threatened by this leader?” she asked.
Aruligam said the SLIC has adopted these repressive measures against workers such as Athugala who are opposing the privatisation of the State-owned entity by the Government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe. “There is no mandate for them to sell profit-making state-owned assets as the Government holds these properties in trust for the Sri Lankan people,” she said.
Aruligam said history is repeating itself with trade unions, their leaders and members becoming the first targets to be victimised and oppressed by the Government while the country is in an unprecedented crisis.
“We condemn this unfair labour practice and the threats and intimidation against Diwakara. We demand that he be reinstated to the head office and be allowed to carry out trade union-related work without intimidation and harassment from the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation management,” she said.
Trade Unionists have accused SLIC of banning all trade union activity, including meetings and discussions at the corporation’s Colombo head office and initiating disciplinary inquiries against Diwakara and the Media Secretary of the Union, Nayomi Hettiarachchige. The Trade Unions claim SLIC has sent warning letters to around 50 employees for being part of ‘illegal’ gatherings within the organisation.