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We will be operating tomorrow – BoC & People’s Bank Chairmen

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The Chairmen of the People’s Bank and the Bank of Ceylon both emphasized that their respective banks are ready to serve their customers tomorrow (01).

They expressed their confidence that it is the responsibility of all public servants to support the government’s program to build the country’s economy, and that bank employees will do the same.

These issues were revealed at a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat today (28) regarding matters in the banking industry.

The discussion was attended by the heads of state banks and trade union representatives, as well as the Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of the President’s Staff, Sagala Ratnayake, and the President’s Secretary, Saman Ekanayake.

There was extensive discussion about how to keep the banking operations running so that government programs are not disrupted and customers are not inconvenienced.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayake pointed out that it is not a good situation for the country to send the message to the international community that the banking system is inactive at a time when the government has taken extensive measures to create financial stability in the country.

Although it is a common tradition to issue circulars containing arrangements such as handing over the keys on the day of the strike, handing over the keys to safes containing gold, etc., when bank employees take union action, this has not occurred in relation to the joint bank union action scheduled to take place tomorrow. This was revealed during the discussion.

Accordingly, the Chairmen and the main management of the Banks agreed that the steps will be taken soon.

Ronald Perera, Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon, added that the banking system’s support is required for the government’s economic development program, and he urges all bank employees not to neglect their responsibilities to the country.

Sujeewa Rajapaksa, Chairman of the People’s Bank, stated that steps have been taken and are currently being discussed to address issues with current tax collection.

He also stated that it is everyone’s responsibility to help improve the country’s future by cooperating with understanding at this time when the entire country is experiencing economic difficulties.

Commenting further Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon Ronald C. Perera said :

This country is now in a very difficult economic situation. In this situation, several trade unions have announced a strike tomorrow. As Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon, I request that our employees return to work tomorrow because the Bank of Ceylon provides excellent service to its customers. If the bank is closed for even one day, the entire country will suffer greatly.

Furthermore, trade unions demand that the government should make decisions on tax collection and tax rate reductions. As a result, we have discussed this matter with the government. These issues, we believe, will be resolved in the near future. I strongly urge the employees to report for duty on behalf of the bank and its customers.

People’s Bank Chairman Sujeewa Rajapaksa further said :

Several trade unions have organized a strike for tomorrow. As Chairman of the People’s Bank, I request that you report to work as People’s Bank employees. People’s Bank makes a significant contribution to the economy of this country. We serve a large number of people and customers, as well as economic operators. As a result, we ask that you report to duty as usual and complete the necessary tasks to keep the service running. At this time, we ask that you refrain from acting in a way that will harm the government, country, or economy.

President’s Economic Senior Advisor Dr R H S Samaratunga and Director General of Trade Unions Saman Rathnapriya were also present at the discussion.

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Tech giant Samsung workers to strike indefinitely

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A union representing workers at South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics has called on its roughly 30,000 members to go on strike indefinitely, as part of its campaign for better pay and benefits.

The announcement came on the last day of a three-day general strike being held by the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU).

The union said it had made the decision after management showed no intention of holding talks over its demands.

The NSEU, which represents nearly a quarter of Samsung Electronics’ workers in South Korea, said its actions had disrupted production. Samsung has disputed these claims.

“Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines. The company remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union,” the firm told BBC News.

However, the union said: “The company has no intention to engage in a dialogue even after the first general strike, thus we declare a second general strike starting from July 10th, lasting indefinitely.”

The NSEU said about 6,500 workers have been taking part in the strike so far and called on more of its members to join the industrial action.

A spokesperson for Samsung Electronics declined to comment on how many workers had joined the walkout.

A protest on Monday was attended by around 3,000 people.

“In our view, there will be no production disruption,” Jung In Yun, from Fibonacci Asset Management Global told BBC News.

Last month, the union staged the first walkout at the company since it was founded five and a half decades ago.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions.

It is the flagship unit of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group.

The firm is also the biggest of the family-controlled businesses that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Samsung Group was known for not allowing unions to represent its workers until 2020, when the company came under intense public scrutiny after its chairman was prosecuted for market manipulation and bribery.

After the NSEU announcement, the company’s shares were trading flat to slightly lower on the Korea Stock Exchange.

Last week, Samsung Electronics said it expects its profits for the three months to June 2024 to jump 15-fold compared to the same period last year.

A boom in artificial intelligence (AI) technology has lifted the prices of advanced chips, driving up the firm’s forecast for the second quarter.

(BBC News)

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SriLankan Airlines to undergo restructuring, not sale – Minister

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Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva affirmed that SriLankan Airlines will undergo restructuring instead of being sold.

He emphasized that according to existing regulations, only up to 49% of the airline’s shares can be transferred to another entity, yet no suitable investor has expressed interest thus far.

Addressing the press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (03), Minister Siripala de Silva further elaborated;

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed Parliament yesterday (02), outlining the on-going debt restructuring crucial for the country’s economic progress. Despite political scepticism from the opposition, he emphasized that the message conveyed was largely positive for the country’s interests.

Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund is actively involved in the restructuring process based strictly on legal frameworks, regulations, and objective criteria, without regard to personal considerations. Sajith Premadasa noted examples such as Argentina, Ecuador, and Ghana, which have successfully negotiated a 25% reduction in commercial loans, distinct from bilateral debts. Discussions to restructure commercial debt within Sri Lanka are on-going, with evolving criteria influenced by IMF assessments of each country’s economic resilience.

It is stressed that pursuing narrow political objectives without acknowledging internationally accepted realities would be inappropriate in this context.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has initiated the first step towards rebuilding the country from its recent challenges. The next crucial step is to safeguard and propel it forward, crucial in preventing a regression to conditions of two years ago.

This year’s budget allocates funds not only for provincial councils, pradeshiya sabha and government departments, but also for social security benefits like “Aswesuma”. Those activities are not being conducted in anticipation of the elections.

Furthermore, SriLankan Airlines should be addressed here. Our approach involves restructuring the airline rather than selling it outright. Under Sri Lankan law, only 49% of SriLankan Airlines’ shares can be transferred to another entity. However, there has been minimal global interest in this opportunity, with only six individuals expressing interest, none of whom were deemed suitable. Even if we were to extend this opportunity to a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, their capabilities would need to be demonstrated.

Additionally, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is set to discuss the resumption of their projects next week, marking another advantage of debt restructuring. Despite interest from Chinese firms in the airport project, contractual obligations with Japan stipulate that contracts should be awarded to Japanese companies.

Furthermore, the management of the financially burdened Mattala Airport will soon be entrusted to a joint venture between Russia and India. Development at the Kankesanthurai port is progressing with assistance amounting to USD 69 million from India. During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar confirmed plans to initiate a ferry service between Sri Lanka and India in the near future.

(President’s Media Division)

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Laugfs gas prices to remain unchanged

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The price of Laugfs domestic LP gas cylinders will remain unchanged, despite price reductions made by Litro Gas PLC today (July 02), the company announced.

Accordingly, the current prices of Laugfs domestic LP gas cylinders are as follows : 

12.5 kg cylinder – Rs. 3,680
05 kg cylinder – Rs. 1,477

Earlier today, Litro Gas PLC announced their decision to slash gas prices.

Related News :

Litro Gas reduces prices again

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