TUs disrupt services countrywide

The daily activities of many sections of the country were disrupted due to the token strike carried out by nearly 1000 trade unions yesterday.

Trade unions in several sectors launched a 24-hour countrywide token strike from 12 midnight on Wednesday (27) against the high cost of living and shortages of some essential items including fuel.

Many trade unions representing public services, power, health, water, ports, education, postal and estate workers joined the token strike.

A protest rally organized by the striking trade unions was held opposite the Fort Railway Station yesterday.

In addition, the striking unions marched from several locations such as the Lipton’s Roundabout in Colombo to the Galle Face People’s Struggle Grounds to join the protest.

In support of the token strike, several wholesale shops in Pettah were also closed yesterday, while many schools were closed due to the absence of teachers who had joined the strike.

Traders said no economic centre had received stocks of vegetables yesterday. This was in line with the strike, which had prompted farmers to refrain from supplying stocks of vegetables to economic centres yesterday. All transport services were also affected to some extent while the train services had almost come to a standstill with all railway employees reporting sick.Only around three trains had operated for the day. However, SLTB and private buses were seen operating, but compared to normal days, bus services were operational on a minimum level.

While many state institutions remained open, many of the staff did not report for duties due to the shortage of transport facilities.

The activities of the Peliyagoda Fish Market was severely disrupted due to the token strike. The Peliyagoda Fish market receives hundreds of lorry loads of fish daily but only a fraction of that was seen yesterday. Further, while large crowds arrive at the Peliyagoda fish market on a daily basis, yesterday there was a drastic reduction in the number of customers coming to purchase fish. The issuing of passports and IDs were also hampered with the relevant offices in Battaramulla being closed due to the lack of staff. Only a handful of executive staff members had reported to work.

However, the Airport and Aviation Services at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake functioned as usual.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) operations were also functioned as usual. The Petroleum operations also carried out their functions as they did not want to take blame for any shortages.

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