A fresh controversy is brewing over the involvement of a Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna affiliated trade union to defend a private sector employee who has been dismissed for sexually abusing a 23-year-old male co-worker.
The trade union, on Friday, launched a strike at South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) Private Limited demanding the reinstatement of the employee who was dismissed for sexually harassing the young employee.
It has been reported that the Harbour police has discouraged the victim from lodging a Police complaint about the incident and advised him to resolve the problem with the predator on “friendly terms.”
The victim, as his next resort, has complained to the management of the company about the sexual harassment. The company had entrusted a third party inquiry officer to probe the matter and upon his findings, had dismissed the predator.
It is against this backdrop that the JVP affiliated trade union at SAGT launched a strike demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed employee. Colombo Telegraph learns that the union operates under former Parliamentarian Wasantha Samarasinghe who was also a member of the North Central Provincial Council.
“After the internal inquiry, action was taken and there was industrial action arising from it. There was a third party inquiry and the perpetrator was disciplined. The victim has been reallocated,” SAGT Private Limited CEO Romesh David has told Groundviews.
However, fresh questions have also emerged over the manner in which the private company handled the issue. As sexual harassment is a criminal offence, the company should have referred the matter to the police in an official capacity, a source familiar with the incident told Colombo Telegraph. “Brushing it under the carpet after an internal inquiry is an attempt to cover up the incident,” the source added.