In the government's continuous self-defence over the issue of the Colombo Port's East Terminal saying that agreements with India hinder them from overthrowing the matter, Ports Trade Unions questioned whether the present rulers have no backbone to fight against Indian influences.
"They speak of Indian influences and agreements with the Indian government, thereby defending themselves that they are stuck as they cannot overthrow the matter. So, are we to understand that none of these rulers have a backbone??
Tell these Indians not to touch our sovereignty. This is our property," said Mr. Prasanna Kalutarage, president of Sri Lanka Free Workers' Association of the Ports, during the protest held yesterday (02).
The issue first raised as the landing of three gantry cranes imported from China was delayed incurring losses to the government amounting to millions of rupees on a daily basis for shipping charges, and the strike action launched by the Ports trade unions hampered the entire process of the Port.
The Ports trade unions agreed to temporarily halt the strike after talks with Subject Minister Johnston Fernando. However, the demonstrations, according to sources, continue as the trade union members who climbed up one of the gantry cranes to pose objection had refused to agree to the terms.
Amidst the clash, it was revealed that the previous Good Governance government had ordered these cranes to be imported from China on the objective of installing at a diferrent terminal of the Colombo Port instead of the East terminal. However, the trade unions continued to emphasise that they should be installed in the East terminal.
It is also noteworthy that the demonstrators are representatives of trade unions favouring the government.