The country is reported to have lost at least Rs. 1 billion yesterday as a result of a trade union action taken by the workers attached to the Sri Lanka Customs who went on sick leave bringing the operations at Orugodawatta and other inspection points to a standstill.
According to sources, even though the trade unions representing the customs workers had made repeated requests for a meeting with Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, they had not been given a time citing that the minister was ‘busy’. This had irked the workers more who were already antagonized over the government’s plan to bring in a new Customs Act.
“As a mark of protest they went on sick leave. Most of the workers except for the high ranking officials at the customs did not take part in the strike,” sources said.
According to them, the Sri Lanka Customs record a daily income close to Rs. 2 billion, however due to the trade union action, this revenue had plummeted. “We estimate that there was a loss of at least Rs. 1 billion,” the sources said. Despite the trade union action, certain services such as the services provided at the airport passenger terminals, and also services in relation to shipment cargo were not affected.
“We are not happy with the Finance Minister’s decision to bring in a new Customs Act. Instead of a new act, he can amend the existing act, when we request for an appointment to meet him and discuss this matter, we are always told he is busy,” they said.