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Move to sell terminal to India: Port unions threaten strike

 Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, the Sri Lankan Ports Trade Union has taken exception to the attempt to sell the East terminal of the Colombo Port, belonging to the Sri Lankan Port Authority, to India at the behest of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and said port workers will go on strike if the deal is stuck.

Addressing journalists at the Ports Authority auditorium, Mr Prasanna Kalutarage said a proposal made by certain sections in the government to sell the East terminal to India had been rejected by the Ports and Shipping Minister and President Maithripala Sirisena.

Despite those objections, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and some others remained bent on selling the asset to India, he said.

The East Terminal was one of the biggest assets of the Ports Authority and revenue generated by it per day was around Rs. 14 million, he said.

The union leader claimed that selling of the east terminal to India would result in around 10,000 port workers losing their jobs.

Kalutarage warned that if the government sought to go ahead with its plan to sell the terminal, the unions would resort to a work stoppage. If the government’s intention was to sell the national asset, trade unions would rise against the move and would not allow the government to continue, he said. 

Irrespective of politics all members of trade unions in the port were against the selling of the east terminal to India, Kalutarage pointed out.

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