Ahead of major strikes, SL President declares many services essential

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Ahead of major strikes, SL President declares many services essential

In the wake of mass protests planned on Wednesday by professionals against major tax hikes and postponement of election, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a gazette notification declaring ports, airport and public transport as essential services with immediate effect.
 

Colombo: In the wake of mass protests planned on Wednesday by professionals against major tax hikes and postponement of election, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a gazette notification declaring ports, airport and public transport as essential services with immediate effect.

“President Wickremesinghe signed a Gazette notification a short while ago declaring public transport services for passengers or goods, discharge, carriage, landing, storage, delivery & removal of articles of food or drink, or coal, oil, fuel from vessels within any port as definedfor the purposes of the Customs Ordinance (Chapter 235), the provision and maintenance of facilities for transport services by road, rail or air, including roads, bridges, culverts, airports, ports & railway lines, as essential services with immediate effect,” President’s Media Division announced on Monday night.

President Wickremesinghe’s extraordinary gazette comes following Professional Trade Union Alliance (PTUA) comprising 40 trade unions representing doctors, professionals and workers from ports, railway and bus services has threatened to cripple the country with a massive trade union action on Wednesday.

Trade unions have termed the new tax policy – introduced to “please” the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) to obtain a bailout package of $2.9 billion – “unfair and oppressive”.

During the weekend President Wickremesinghe, who met some trade unions, had stressed that the country cannot be push out of the ongoing economic crisis without the IMF bailout package.

“Revising the taxes before reaching a final agreement with the IMF could have a negative impact on the ongoing discussion with the IMF,” Wickremesinghe has told the trade unions which opposed his stance.

 


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