Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers announced an islandwide strike from today morning, after a union demonstration which took CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala and a number of officials hostage turned sour when riot police intervened to secure the head office premises in Fort last night. The CEB workers launched a surprise demonstration in the evening without informing the management, forcing officials to remain in the building for over five hours, CEB spokesperson Sulakshana Jayawardana claimed.
The workers were holding a demonstration against the decision by the management to suspend the payment of an allowance granted to them from September 2017, blocking the entrance and exit of the building. The move prevented Ganegala and other senior officials from leaving the building.
The riot police managed to remove all workers from CEB premises, securing the area with police protection. Following clashes between riot police and demonstrators, resulting in at least five being hospitalised for treatment, the unions called for an islandwide strike from 9.00 a.m. today.
“We did not prevent the police from taking the chairman out. But they hit us on the way out. So we have decided to go for strong trade union action,” Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Workers’ Union Secretary Ranjan Jayalal told the Daily FT. (FT)