Private fuel tanker owners call off strike

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The Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association (SLPPTOA) called off their strike yesterday.

After receiving assurance from the Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekaraof a 30 percent increase in bowser hiring charges, the association has decided to call off the strike.

“The strike was called off after a compromise was reached with the Government,” according to SLPPTOA Chairman Kusum Sandanayake.

SLPPTOA is in charge of transporting fuel from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation PLC (LIOC) to fuel sheds islandwide.

According to him, the wildcat strike on Sunday was caused by CPC primarily not increasing the cost per kilometre of bowser transportation fares and increased cost of insurance.

“However, we reached an agreement with the authorities, though our expectations fell short by Rs 25-30 per km from what we requested. Fuel distribution will normalise now that the strike has ended,” Sandanayake said.

The Minister of Power and Energy told the Media yesterday that it is unfair for private fuel tanker owners to drive the Government up the wall and win their demands.

Minister Wijesekara said in response to the trade union action initiated by the owners of private fuel tankers that the private tanker owners have made additional demands.

The Minister highlighted that the Ministry already bore Rs 325.9 million, which increased to Rs 488.9 million in March. It was to be increased again to Rs 554.1 million, so it is important to consider the institution’s financial position, especially since government institutions have been told to limit their expenditure in light of the economic crisis.

By Thameenah Razeek