Media Spokesman of the GMOA, Dr. Samantha Ananda said that an island-wide strike would be initiated on 17 May, from 8 a.m., adding that it has not been decided thus far whether it would be a one-day strike or a continuous one.
“There are several requests from our side. The first one is to refrain from ratifying the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, the second is halting the discussions on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, and the final one is taking necessary steps to minimize the harmful effects of the already signed trade agreements,” he explained.
When asked why they oppose to the FTA with Singapore, he replied that the agreement had been signed secretly without informing the nation, and also because there were no provisions to withdraw from the agreement which in itself is more advantageous to Singapore. Any person with Singaporean Permanent Residency (PR) can work here. In contrast, Sri Lankan citizens are not able to do the same in Singapore.
He alleged that Minister Malik Samarawickrama’s recent statement over the FTA was controversial. “Samarawickrama stated that the agreement was active from 1 May. How can this have happened? It has not even been presented to Parliament yet. The ratification of an agreement is a long process, and not a simple one.”
He further added that the GMOA would also hold discuss with trade unions from other sectors on the issue.
“We sent letters to President Maithripala Sirisena also, but still, there is no positive response.”