Trade unions to flex muscles against VAT hike

by Dasun Edirisinghe

A collection of trade unions representing all sectors will stage a protest in Colombo Fort today against the VAT (amendment) Bill and privatisation of state ventures. They will also demand higher taxes on the super rich.

Convener of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) Dammika Munasinghe said 20 trade unions would take party in today’s protest.

He said plans were underway to divest public institutions on the pretext of restructuring them though the government had pledged not to sell family silver.

Munasinghe said they were also concerned about government attempts to curtail labour rights.

"We discussed how the workers would be affected by the amendments to the labour laws," Munasinghe said, adding they were also demanding a stop to introducing draconian amendments to the remaining labour laws.

The present government had also effected changes to the pension scheme for the public sector employees without consulting trade unions, he said.

"We will launch our protest campaign from delivering leaflets in Colombo, Kandy, Battaramulla, Maradana and Ampara areas against the present situation of taxes and salaries of workers," Munasinghe said.

Centre for Labour Struggle, Lanka Teachers Union, United Labour Federation, Independent Dockyard Workers’ Association, United Dockyard Workers Association, Pragathi Teachers’ Association, Independent Lanka Teachers’ Union, Janaraja Public Health Union, United Government Management Assistants Association, All Ceylon Health Workers Union, Government Printers Association, Irrigation Common Workers Union, Sri Lanka Janaraja Health Workers Union, United Teachers Service Union, Meida Service Trade Union Federation, Government United Management Assistants Association, United Common Service Union, Technical Workers Union, Office Assistants Service Union and Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates will take part the protest.

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