Colombo, Dec 15 (NIA) – Over 400 employees in a Chinese funded port in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota district, called off a nine day protest on Thursday after the management warned that they would be terminated from work.
The protesters who were temporary employees of the Hambantota port had been demanding that they be given permanent employment at the port.
The protest had resulted in port operations being disrupted and the navy had to be called in to restore normalcy.
The protesors had been on strike since December 6 demanding that they be absorbed into the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) ahead of any sale to a Chinese company.
Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said Wednesday that he had given strikers a Thursday deadline to report back to work or lose their jobs.
Earlier in the week, the protesters detained two vessels, including a large Japanese vessel carrying vehicles, for several days, causing severe losses to the vessels.
The move resulted in the navy being called in to free the vessels so that they could continue their onward journey.
The Sri Lanka navy also managed to restore security at the port and repair the damage caused to the generators and power supply system.
Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga, on Wednesday told reporters that shipping insurance companies had dubbed Hambantota port as a “high risk” following this incident and two or three foreign shipping lines had informed the government that they will not be using Hambantota hereafter because detentions by harbor workers amount to piracy.
After the departure of the two ships which were released by the navy by the use of force, no ship has berthed in Hambantota.