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Health TUs to re-commence strike from Feb. 01

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Convenor of the Health Trade Union Alliance – Chanaka Dharmawickrama has revealed that the trade union action, which was launched earlier this week by a collective of 72 health sector unions, will resume on Feb. 01.
He added that protest campaigns in front of hospitals island-wide, will commence from Jan. 23.

He further highlighted that while they are trying to minimize the burden imposed on patients as a result of their trade union action, these matters would resolve themselves if the state agreed to meet their demands, or promptly provide an alternate solution for their issues.

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Govt. donates Ifthar funds to Children of Gaza Fund

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The Cabinet has approved the proposal by President Wickremesinghe to create a “Children of Gaza Fund” in aid of Gaza violence victims. 

All Ministries & Government Institutions directed to forego Ifthar celebrations & contribute to this fund. 

The Government’s donation of US $1 million will be distributed through official UN agencies to aid affected children with citizen contributions encouraged.

The Presidential Secretariat urges donations from citizens for the “Children of Gaza Fund” during the month of Ramadan to account number 7040016 at Bank of Ceylon (7010), Taprobane Branch (747) by 11th April & deposit receipt to be forwarded to 0779730396 via WhatsApp, the PMD adds.

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Won’t be able to offer SriLankan to investors even for free – Minister

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Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday (26) spoke firmly on the national carrier – SriLankan Airlines, stating that the airline’s disruptive employees and tarnished reputation would deter potential buyers in the privatisation process.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said  “We cannot run an airline with disruptive employees. This is a critical moment for SriLankan Airlines. We cannot afford to entertain employees who fail to handle situations under pressure.”

“The deadline for the Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is set for 5 March and in the present scenario, according to the information I received some of the bidders want to withdraw. With the negative reputation plaguing the airline, we will not be in a position to offer it free-of-charge even,” the minister claimed.

However, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage’s views had contrasted starkly with that of Minister de Silva.

The discussion saw a disagreement regarding ground handling. Minister De Silva advocated for immediate privatization of the service, citing shortcomings. Chairman Pathirage, while acknowledging areas for improvement, argued that the lack of aircraft, not ground handling, was the primary issue. He blamed lengthy government procurement procedures for hindering fleet acquisition.

De Silva justified his push for privatization by citing the airline’s struggles and reports of potential bidders withdrawing their interest. While not inherently opposed to privatization, Pathirage emphasized the ongoing process and the lack of control the airline has in the decision.

Meanwhile, trade union representatives commended Pathirage for his leadership whilst blaming political interventions and its past management. 

“We all undoubtedly praise the Chairman for his leadership and unwavering commitment to operate this airline amidst all odds. Neither the employees nor the current management of the SriLankan Airlines are responsible for the cancellations and bad reputation, but the political intervention,” they stated.

They also slammed the former COPE Chairmen and MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Dr. Charitha Herath for disrupting the lease procedure of the airline when the aircraft were at a lower price. “They are responsible for all the operational delays the airline is facing at present,” they claimed.

(Excerpts : DailyFT)

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Port City sea sand sent to Port construction?

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The Frontline Socialist Party made a disclosure concerning the alleged unauthorized use of construction materials at the Colombo Port City project, specifically in the construction of two terminals.

Frontline Socialist Party’s Education Secretary, Pubudu Jagoda,  raised concerns regarding the construction of the Port City in Sri Lanka, highlighting alleged irregularities in the procurement and use of construction materials by a Chinese company contracted for the project.

Jagoda asserts that the Chinese company, tasked with constructing the East Container Terminal and Jaya Container Terminal, has been involved in questionable practices.

According to Jagoda, the company has purportedly been transporting sea sand from the Port City area to the Colombo port, bypassing regulations and inspections. He claims to possess video evidence supporting these allegations.

The videos, according to Jagoda, depict the loading of sand from the Port City’s sand piles onto tipper trucks, which then enter the harbor without undergoing proper inspections or acquiring necessary permits. Additionally, he alleges that the sand, originally intended for the Port City’s construction, is being used in the Colombo Port’s development instead.

Jagoda further contends that approximately 4000 sand cubes are being transported from the Port City to the Colombo Port every month, with an estimated value of 90 million Sri Lankan rupees.

The Frontline Socialist Party Education Secretary questions why the Colombo Port security department has not intervened in these matters and calls for an investigation into the alleged breaches of protocol surrounding the procurement and transportation of construction materials for the Port City and Colombo Port projects.

Keith Barnard, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority stated that he was not aware of the allegations brought forth by Jagoda.

However, he assured that a formal investigation into the matter will be initiated promptly.

(News 1st)

(This story, originally published by News 1st has not been edited by SLM staff)

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