Lanka workers strike against proposed oil deal with India

Sisters seek protection fear threat from parents

CPC Managing Director Nadun Fernando said the trade unions agreed to call off the strike after six and a half hours of talks that also involved Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

During the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's visit, the two countries will finalize the MoU for joint development of Trincomalee port to set up a petroleum refinery and a land lease agreement.

A strike leader at state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation said they will return to work after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised that no agreement over a tank farm will be signed with India in an upcoming visit. He said the development of eastern port district of Trincomalee will be discussed during the visit.

The Petroleum Joint Union Alliance had said it opposes the proposal to transfer operations rights to oil tanks to India since the agreement would benefit the Lanka IOC, Indian Oils subsidiary, allowing it to expand further and the CPC, which is already in debt, will incur further financial losses.

Demand is made to government for abandoning the plan to build new oil refinery with help of China in Hambantota and start the improvement process of refinery in Colombo.

The trade union did not want the government to go ahead with a deal with which, they claim, would give India too much leverage over fuel prices in Sri Lanka.

Chairman of the Petroleum Corporation Shehan Seneviratne said that the strike did cause disruption to fuel distribution yesterday, however distribution of fuel had had resumed at 6 a.m. today.

The union has taken the decision to strike after President Maithripala Sirisena has reportedly turned down a request for a meeting to discuss the issue.

During the talks, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had assured he would look into the grievances of the workers.

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