Sri Lanka petrol trade unions warn of another strike over proposed Indian oil deal

Sri Lanka petrol trade unions warn of another strike over proposed Indian oil deal

Colombo, May 17 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Trade Union, on Wednesday warned it would cripple the island’s transport sector by launching an island wide protest next week if the government goes ahead with a proposed oil deal with India.

In a statement, the Petroleum Union said that it would launch the strike without prior notice if the government failed to meet their demands which include the modernizing of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery, where they have asked the government to consult the trade unions prior to employing any other company; a decision on the China Bay Oil Tanks and whether they would be taken back from Lanka IOC and an assurance that the government would not sign an agreement with India on the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm.

The strike which would heavily hamper the country’s transport sector, if launched next week, would be the second within a span of weeks.

Last month, the Sri Lanka Petroleum Trade Union launched a country wide strike, just ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India, warning the government against signing any deal with India over the Traincomalee oil tanks, in the east.

The strike which caused queues of vehicles to gather outside petrol stations was called off only after Wickremesinghe, just hours before his departure to India issued a written assurance that he would sign no such deal during his visit.

Wickremesinghe during a recent event had then said Sri Lanka would only lease the oil tanks to India under the proposed deal.

However in the statement issued Wednesday, Petroleum Joint Union Alliance Convenor D.J. Rajakaruna alleged that according to the terms of the pact Sri Lanka is to ink with India, the government has ‘totally’ ignored the promises made to them and therefore if the concerns are not addressed they would resort to an islandwide strike.