23 TUs call for reinstatement
Over 23 trade unions, in a letter to Minister of Labour, Nimal Siripala de Silva, called for urgent government action and for the reinstatement of 16 workers who were dismissed for union membership. They stated that the United Federation of Labour (UFL) constituent, the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU) established a Union at a Company in Wathupitiwala adding that soon after receiving information on such union, the company dismissed 16 union members over four days.
They added that the representatives of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union and Inter Company Employees Union had previously brought to de Silva’s attention similar incidents of union busting and unfair labour practices, the company has committed for several years. While stating that de Silva undertook to resolve the matter through the Labour Department, they added that it has been over a month since the members of the union were dismissed and that the Labour Department is yet to commence an unfair labour practice inquiry against the company.
“The company is untouched or not warned and continues its operations uninterrupted despite having committed an illegal act, while the 16 workers whose employment was terminated for joining a union are struggling to survive amid the pandemic,” they added. They thereby requested for the intervention of de Silva in this matter to ensure that the workers are reinstated, while adding that in the absence of government intervention, the workers and workers’ organisations are compelled to rely on international institutions and instruments.