Cross Purposes

Trade unions angry at attempts to overhaul the state utility the Ceylon Electricity Board, pitch against each other as anti-privatisation unions meet the moderates. Trade unions angry at attempts to overhaul the state utility the Ceylon Electricity Board, pitch against each other as anti-privatisation unions meet the moderates.

Most of the debt ridden electricity giant’s 52 unions put up a united front yesterday protesting against what some say are state plans to privatise the Electricity Board.

The unions, driven largely by the Marxist led JVP, threatened an all out supply disruption if the Cabinet went ahead with plans to break up the CEB into independent companies.

A crucial Cabinet meeting to decide the fate of the CEB and state oil company Ceypetco was shelved for about two weeks or more. But the unions are split on what they want.

The hard line JVP led unions are calling for an all out repeal of the Electricity Reform Act, with JVP ministers in the ruling coalition government threatening to pull out if the plans go ahead.

It is, as one union leader said at the protests yesterday, the biggest political decision, with the political futu