ECT Trade Union action

  • Work-to-rule ends with Cabinet nod 


The work-to-rule protest campaign embarked upon by port trade unions in opposition to the proposed handover of 49% of the stake in the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port to India’s Adani Group of Companies was set to end last night (1), The Morning reliably learnt.

This decision was arrived at by trade unions following last evening’s approval by the Cabinet of Ministers for 100% ownership of the ECT to remain with the SLPA, which was confirmed by Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena.

Earlier, a planned black flag campaign was also set to be called off. Speaking to The Morning, Trade Unions to Protect the ECT Co-Convener Sanjeewa Kumara Weligama said they have agreed to suspend a planned islandwide black flag protest campaign.

The black flag campaign was scheduled to commence today (2), where the TUs requested the public to raise a black flag against the proposal to grant 49% of the shares of the ECT to India’s Adani Group of Companies.

“This decision to suspend the black flag protest was taken following the meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Trade union representatives called off this protest campaign and the Premier released a statement to note that the ECT of the Colombo Port will neither be sold to any country and nor be handed over to any country for administration purposes,” said Weligama.

However, speaking to The Morning, Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera of the Surakimu Sri Lanka organisation claimed that this decision to keep the ECT entirely within the control of the Government could be a governmental conspiracy.

“The Government created a massive public dialogue against the ECT proposal with the help of the union leaders, and now they all agreed to one proposal saying that the ECT will not be given to the Adani Group of Companies. But our suspicion is that the Government may have planned to give away the West Container Terminal (WCT) from the beginning to India,” alleged Ven. Ananda Sagara Thera.

According to the Thera, the Government is attempting to give the WCT instead of the ECT.

“The WCT is also a national property. Giving the WCT instead of the ECT should not be approved. If we give the WCT to India, we might need a separate jetty to enter the ECT, unless the entrance would be from the Port City,” claimed the Thera.

Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping U.D.C. Jayalal told The Morning that a cabinet memorandum was presented to the Cabinet of Ministers last evening to ensure the ECT of the Colombo Port is 100% operated by the SLPA. He said the Cabinet Subcommittee report had been submitted to the Cabinet by Abeygunawardena, following extensive discussions, and that the decision regarding the ECT would be formally announced by the Cabinet Spokesmen today (2).