Monday, December 4, 2023
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Certain Political Factions and Labour Unions Striving to Attain Their Political Objectives

  • Refrain from Involving this Developing Nation in Racial Conflicts- Director General of Trade Unions to President Saman Ratnapriya.

Mr. Saman Ratnapriya, the Director General of Trade Union Relations to the President, stated during a press conference held in Colombo today (22) by the Union of Civil Organizations and Trade Unions, that certain political factions are actively promoting racial conflicts in the country to further their own political agendas.

He emphasized that the nation has already endured significant political and economic challenges over the past three decades, including the prolonged war and the Easter attack. As Sri Lanka is in the process of rebuilding after emerging from this dark period, there is no need for the re-emergence of racial conflicts.

Addressing the media briefing, Mr. Ratnapriya further said;

Today, several political factions and trade unions are actively involved in various initiatives aimed at advancing their political agendas on various national issues.

One of these initiatives pertains to the Channel 4 incident, currently under discussion in Parliament. Different political groups hold varying perspectives on this matter, with allegations that the government is reluctant to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. This is not acceptable.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken steps to address the Channel 4 incident by appointing a committee consisting of a retired judge. This committee is responsible for making decisions regarding the matter. Additionally, the ruling party has called for the formation of a selection committee for this purpose.

While everyone has the right to express their opinions freely, it is crucial that information concerning this issue is shared with a sense of responsibility and common sense. It’s important to note that there has been no outright rejection of an investigation into the incident. The Ministry of Defence has also refuted these allegations. In this context, certain opposition groups are disseminating false information as part of their propaganda efforts.

The Easter attack had a devastating impact on the country and it is imperative for the nation to determine those responsible and prevent such incidents from recurring. Previous interventions, including international investigations and presidential commissions, have been initiated in connection with the Easter incident. Seeking international support for this cause is not inherently problematic.
Furthermore, there are groups attempting to incite racial tensions in the country to further their political objectives, with events such as Kurundi Viharaya and Thilipan celebrations being cited as examples. Both domestic and international communities suspect these groups of deliberately stoking conflict among the populace. Therefore, we urge all parties to refrain from dragging the country into turmoil for the sake of their political aspirations.

The Easter attack inflicted significant political and economic damage on our nation. Additionally, the scars of a three-decade-long war still linger in our collective memory. It is crucial that we do not forget these dark chapters in our history. I earnestly urge all groups to conduct themselves in a manner befitting our country’s welfare.

Today, as our country strives to recover from a severe economic crisis, various trade union campaigns are underway in the health department. Despite the economic challenges, the President has directed the Treasury to provide relief to public servants, including the possibility of salary or allowance increases.

Protests are not uncommon in our country and if the government does decide to raise wages or allowances, they should effectively communicate that it’s in response to the concerns voiced by the working people.

In these trying times when our country is grappling with financial difficulties, it is imperative that we collectively work towards the nation’s reconstruction, rather than dragging our feet on implementing necessary programs.

During the implementation of the loan optimization program, certain trade unions have propagated false narratives, suggesting that the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) would be endangered. Such misinformation is counterproductive and it’s essential for trade unions to refrain from creating unwarranted panic.

Only a small fraction of our population, 2500 out of 22 million, participated in the recent protests, indicating a broader acceptance of the President’s agenda by the people. I implore all trade unions, including the opposition, to understand the current state of our nation and act with responsibility.

Former Governor Mr. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon;

Professionals, including some within trade unions, have been disseminating misleading information. There have been claims of a brain drain occurring in the country, including reports that 842 doctors have left the country in the past.

It is important to clarify that these 842 doctors left the country within the framework of labour laws, which include provisions for doctors on leave. Presenting this information in a distorted manner serves to conceal the genuine challenges within the healthcare sector.

Rather than addressing existing concerns, there has been a focus on raising unfounded issues. It should be noted that the government has established specific procedures that allow government employees, including doctors, to work abroad. This can be regarded as a privilege extended to all government employees.

It is incorrect to assert that professionals going abroad for leave equates to them permanently leaving the country. There has been a history of false propaganda on this matter. Claims suggesting that 6000 doctors have left the country lack an accurate understanding of the total number of doctors within our nation.

With over 7500 doctors working in hospitals across the country, it is also misleading to suggest that doctors who pursue international training never return. The government is actively addressing this issue and monitoring the situation closely.

Pulasthi Wanniarachchi Chairman of the United Social Organization:

A Bill addressing Online System Security has been officially published. Simultaneously, during the President’s visit to the United States, he held discussions with Facebook’s President of Global Relations, focusing on future technical collaborations.

The sudden introduction of this bill has sparked public discourse and it’s important to recognize its positive aspects. The Computer Response Emergency Forum records approximately 14,000 complaints annually related to social media and internet misuse, with the police receiving around 9,000 complaints. Social networking platforms have introduced certain social standards, but there remains a question regarding the extent of public awareness in our country.

In the process of advancing digitization, it is essential to seek the insights of experts in the field when enacting such legislation. This bill, particularly targeting hate speech and fake news, is expected to contribute to their reduction.

Furthermore, it is crucial to initiate a dialogue on the adverse effects of social networks and technology on our nation.

The meeting was attended by Thusitha Perera, the co-convener of Civil Organizations and Trade Union, Kaushalee Samaratunga, Legal Adviser of the Lakvanitha Organization and Suppaiya Anandakumara, a member of Civil Organizations and Trade Unions.

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