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HomeWorldSri Lanka outlaws strikes as anti-tax protests spread

Sri Lanka outlaws strikes as anti-tax protests spread

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government said on Tuesday it was banning strikes in several key sectors, a day ahead of a planned one-day national stoppage called by unions to protest against painfully high taxes and utility bills.
Anger towards President Ranil Wickremesinghe is growing as his government slashes spending and hikes taxes to secure an IMF bailout after more than a year of economic and political upheaval. The president’s office said he used his executive power to invoke an “essential services” order that effectively outlawed the planned trade union action.
He declared “public transports, delivery of food, or coal, oil, fuel, the maintenance offacilities for transport by road, rail or air. . . airports, ports and railway lines, as essential services with immediate effect,” a statement said.
Anyone defying the essential services order risks losing their job. Over 40 trade unions, including bank employees and government hospital staff, had said they would not carry out work on Wednesday as atoken protest against the doubling of taxes since January.
However, trade unions are all set to defy the order by going ahead with their one-day token strike scheduled on March 1. The essential services gazette was issued after the trade unions gave notice of strike action”, a member of the Teachers’ Trade Union, Joseph Stalin said.



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