Sri Lanka’s petroleum unions warn of another strike next week


May 17, 2017 (LBO) – The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) unions have in a letter informed the Premier that they will re- commence halted strike action next week regarding the Trincomalee Oil tank farm, the unions convener said.

D.J. Rajakaruna, convener of the Joint Petroleum Union Alliance, speaking to Lanka Business Online said they are not in agreement with the conditions of the recent Memorandum of Understanding regarding the oil tanks.

“We saw the MoU, According to it the tanks have already been given. It says that a joint venture will be initiated with an Indian company and the deal will be finalised by July following cabinet approval,” he said.

“This was not the promise that was given to us last month when we called off the strike. The PM said the agreement would come to us before it was to be given to the cabinet for us to review. Now there is no time to do all the required checks and draft legislation.”

He stressed that the strike was called off in April only temporally.

“There can’t be any joint ventures, this will enable the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (Lanka IOC) who already operate 14 tanks to gain a monopoly there.”

“It will affect the energy security of the country as well as oil is needed to run our power plants.”

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) unions called off their strike in April following successful discussions with the Prime Minister and Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody.

Employees of the CPC launched the strike opposing an agreement to be signed with India regarding developing the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and establishing an oil refinery.

Minister Weerakkody claimed that the Lanka IOC was already using the tank farm in Trincomalee and that successive governments had accepted a lease payment of US 100,000 dollars per annum.

He added that the last Cabinet paper submitted by him was an attempt to regain some form of control of the oil farm to Sri Lanka.

The government, Lanka IOC Pvt. Ltd. and CPC signed a tripartite agreement with regard to the China Bay Installation (Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm) in February 2003.

As per the lease agreement, the oil tank farm with 99 tanks was to be handed over to LIOC for use for a period of 35 years. Accordingly, they started using 14 tanks in the lower farm area. The remaining 84 tanks in the upper tank area remain disused.

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