The Government acknowledges the right of workers and the trade unions to resort to strike. As such the government will not take any action to suppress the exercise of legitimate rights of the workers. However, the government will not hesitate to take sternest action to prevent illegal demonstrations which may violate law and order, stressed the Defence Spokesman, Hon. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the media briefing held at the Media Centre for National Security on Wednesday 09.
When the strike was announced H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited all the trade unions to discuss their main demand of a salary increase of Rs. 5000.00. The JVP- controlled trade unions did not participation at the negotiations which lasted for over 4 hours. The H.E. President and the economic advisor explained the implications of a salary increase of Rs. 5000.00 when funds had already been allocated. It was pointed out that in the mid-year, a salary increase was impossible and until a substantial increase is made in November, and increase of Rs. 1000.00 as an interim massacre was to be paid with immediate effect, the Hon. Minister added.
Rs. 750 million were allocated to all services where Rs. 200 million and Rs. 120 million for defence. The allocations had been made for salaries, subsidies, development, welfare and defence. If Rs. 5000.00 is to be increased the vote of defence has to be curtailed which will result in a setback for on going struggle for the liberation of the North from the grip of terrorism Hon Minister explained.
The leaders of the planned strike have said that the strike will be called off if three conditions are met. One is the postponement of provincial elections, second the implementation of the 17th amendment and the third reducing the number of Ministers in the cabinet to 35. These demands are nothing to do with the cost of living. This proves that the strike in politically motivated, the Defence Spokesman asserted.
Reference to abduction and assault of journalists the Hon. Minister said their sequence that work of organized gangs to tarnish the image of the government. The Hon. Minister said intelligence sources have revealed that students unions will stage demonstrations so that security forces would be brought to South.
Answering a query on the program of the investigations into the assault on journalists the police media spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said a clue had been found and investigations are continuing based on that clue.
Courtesy : MCNS