Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
PELWATTA SUGAR EMPLOYEES STAGE FAST-UNTO-DEATH
BY SUMANASIRI GUNATILLEKA
A group of 34 Tractor drivers of the Pelwatta Sugar Factory had resorted to a death fast to protest against their suspension from service.
More than forty-five employees of the factory, including tractor drivers, who staged their protest on the roof of the factory on Tuesday (7), called off the protest after the Chief Incumbent of the Unawatuna Temple in Buttala, Ven. Mahasenpura Nandarama Thera, intervened and promised to take the matter up with the relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, 200 casual employees received letters of appointment from Minister of Sugar Industries, Laxman Seneviratne.
The suspended drivers accused the minister granting permanent jobs to persons who joined the factory recently while overlooking the casual employees who counted a service of more than 15 years at the factory. The drivers who had been staging a fast-unto-death last morning said that the factory administration had prevented them from reporting to service.
However, the Chief Operations Manager Brig. K.W.Y. Jayatilleka, said that the factory, which had been running at a loss when it was under the private sector and were not even in a position to pay the salaries of the employees on time, had now been turned into a profit making institution by the government and that every employee was now paid his or her salary on the due date. “Under the new administration steps have been taken to provide many facilities to the employees. Every one of them will receive a bonus of about Rs.20, 000 each when the Sinhala and Tamil New Year comes around.