Mass trade union protests today in defiance of essential services gazettes

Trade Unions representing various sectors including ports, railways, power and energy, health, banking, education and telecommunications will hold mass protests across the country today against the Government’s new tax regime. Protestors are demanding that the Government withdraws what it called an unfair tax hike or has threatened to take more stringent trade union action in the coming weeks. If the government does not take action to reverse the tax proposals, we will go into more serious action from next week, Channa Dissanayake of the bank employees union said.

The new tax regime was imposed in January and has faced stiff opposition from professionals across the country representing various sectors. Though the President on Monday gazetted sectors covering public transport, goods transportation, and all work related to ports and airports as essential services, the unions said the strike action will go ahead as planned. We will go ahead as planned with strike action against the tax hike Ranjan Jayalal of the electricity workers' trade union said.