Workers at the state owned Milk Industries of Lanka Company Ltd (Milco) ended on Wednesday a 2-day strike over wages after reaching an agreement with the management. Milco Chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe told Business Times that the salaries of employees have now been paid and Milco factory operations have normalized. Milco produces 200,000 cups of Highland yoghurt and 100,000 liquid milk (UHT) Ultra-high temperature packs per day.
He said that there was a shortage in yoghurt during the past two days due to work stoppage and the supplies have returned to normal. He said that Livestock and Rural Community Development Minister Arumugam Thondaman's alleged resignation had no connection whatsoever with the Milco strike and it has nothing to do with his position as chairman.
"I have no dispute with him," he added. Mr Thondaman is learnt to have been disappointed and threatened to quit after his order to remove the chairman was rejected by the President. Mr. Wickramasinghe said the Ministry together with Milco will cater to the country's milk food requirements under a five-year development plan to improve fresh milk and dried milk powder production. He said the government has selected six internationally reputed companies to set up mega milk farms in milk processing areas. Each farm which will have over 4,000 cows is expected to produce at least 40,000 litres of milk per day under this scheme.
The government has imported 500 high breed dairy cows from Australia to improve the dairy industry in the country which arrived in Sri Lanka by ship on Thursday and were transported to the National Livestock Development Board(NLDB) farm in Nuwara Eliya.