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Stop political transfers, warns TUC

The Trade Union Confederation (TUC), warned they would take wide scale trade union action if President Mahinda Rajapaksa failes to take steps to cancel all politically motivated transfers which followed the Presidential Elections. Attending a press briefing, General Secretary of the TUC, Saman Ratnapriya said yesterday (12), that democracy required a strong opposition and its views and development following the election showed that the government was bent on weakening the opposition and those who promoted its ideologies.

Eighteen trade unions will meet on Thursday (18), to discuss the next step to be taken if the President did not do anything to stop all vengeance transfers. Condemning the arrest of the Common Candidate and his supporters, Ratnapriya said that many of the transfers violated the third chapter of the Establishment Code.

The transfers should be given through a transfer board. The transfers of trade union leaders should be done by Ministry secretaries. However, all these clauses have been violated, Ratnapriya said. Many employees who have been transferred are 55 years and above. Such employees should be given their transfers closer to home. But in this case, they have been transferred from one difficult area to another.

"Many government employees have been transferred on claims of them being "excessive in that particular station," he said. 160 employees of the Ports Authority have been transferred to difficult areas such as Oluville, Kalmunai and Akkraipattu. Thousands of teachers, media, CTB and Free Trade Zone employees have also been political victims.

The TUC called upon the President to uphold democracy. He promised that everything would remain peaceful while no vengeance would be taken from opposition supporters. It’s time he implemented his promises, he said.

The President also pledged a Rs. 2,500 salary increment to all government and private sector employees. But last week, the Central Bank stated that such a step would be a strain on the Treasury. "So, are we to listen to the President’s election pledges or the Central Bank," he demanded.

The TUC would be forced to take trade union action if the promised amount is not granted in government and private sector salaries, Ratnapriya warned.

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