The Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association (SLPPTOA) withdrew from operations in protest against the failure to raise transportation costs in line with increases in fuel prices.
Association’s Co-Secretary D.V. Shantha Silva said, the strike has been a success and will continue, but that authorities have yet to respond to their demands.
Discussions with the subject Minister ended in a stalemate over a 60 per cent increase in fares, demanded by private fuel bowser owners. Silva said the Constitution protects their rights and the organisation is a registered body. As a result, he challenged the Minister to revoke their licences if at all possible.
Silva, responding to Minister of Energy Kanchana Wijesekera’s statement that 381 fuel bowsers were engaged in fuel distribution as at 4 p.m. yesterday, stated that less than 100 bowsers were out for deliveries and accused the Minister of speaking of outdated statistics.
Silva noted that their demands include a revision of transportation fares in line with the revision of fuel prices, as fuel prices have increased abnormally. He claimed that the prices of tyre tubes, spare parts, and oil have increased by 300 per cent, and that employee salaries must be increased as well.
Meanwhile, the Lanka Indian Oil Private Bowser Owners’ Association (LIOPBOA) has stopped providing fuel transportation services from midnight as the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) bowser owners’ association has solicited their support for their trade union action, said Association Chairman Kusum Sandanayake.
“As a result, we decided to offer our assistance to them while refraining from handling fuel transportation. Following the meeting on April 30 between the CPC bowser owners’ association and power and energy minister Kanchana Wijesekara, a letter indicating their stance was sent to the Lanka IOC Managing Director,” Sandanayake said.
BY Thameenah Razeek