Sri Lanka workers went on strike against oil deal with India

A man fishes near an oil platform in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares - RTX19KRU
Vastavam web: Workers of Sri Lanka’s state-run petroleum company went on an indefinite strike from today against a proposed deal with India to jointly operate a strategic oil storage facility at Trincomalee port, crippling fuel distribution and resulting in long queues at filling stations across the island nation.Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Trade Union Collective workers had yesterday threatened to cripple entire transportation sector in the country as a result of the strike.Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody was hopeful of a solution as he scheduled a round of talks with the CPC trade unions later today.”There will be no shortage of fuel during the strike as enough fuel has been distributed throughout the country Managing Director of CPC Nadun Fernando said.
Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) said its operations were continuing despite the strike launched by CPC.Lanka and India are expected to sign an agreement to jointly operate an oil storage facility at the strategic eastern port town of Trincomalee.The workers have three demands which include getting the government to stop granting outright ownership of some 14 World War II-era oil storage tanks in the eastern port district of Trincomalee.They had also asked the government to shelve plans to build a new oil refinery with Chinese assistance in the southern port of Hambantota and to immediately begin repairing the existing refinery near Colombo.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said the move is part of attempts by the Lankan government to sell state assets to foreign companies.
Bandula Saman Kumara, a spokesman for the trade unions, had said by mid-week the Colombo international airport would face the danger of becoming non-operational due to fuel sector strike.At least 73 of the 99 storage tanks in Trincomalee is to be managed under a new equity arrangement between the two countries, Lankan Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody had said earlier.