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JVP accused of disruption
By Nilika de Silva
An alleged attempt by a group of JVP-affiliated trade unionists to commandeer armoured vehicles of a private company used to transport cash is being investigated by the police.

A complaint had been lodged by the Ceylinco-CISCO Security Corporation with the Bambalapitiya police claiming that union members attempted to take over the vehicles, a claim denied by the JVP. Bambalapitiya Police sent personnel to protect the vehicles soon after the complaint was made.

Issuing a statement Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala accused JVP members working in the company for the incident and called it a 'threat to peace', adding that the public will recall that the JVP leaders had threatened to start the third insurrection and disrupt any peace effort through their membership.

Staffers of the Ceylinco-Cisco security transport division stood outside the closed gates of their office on Thursday after the management decided to shift operations elsewhere.

The staff, many of them members of the Inter Company Employees Union said 129 of them had been shut out of the premises, the name board of the company removed, and police asked to occupy the premises.

The problem had begun when 12 of their colleagues were removed from service on Tuesday, they claimed. However the workers said they were not engaged in union action. "We are not carrying a single placard," a spokesman, Ajith Gamage said.

On Wednesday more than a hundred workers of the company had refused to work protesting against the removal of the 12 staffers. Deputy Chairman, Cey-linco-CISCO Security Transport & Allied Services (Pvt) Ltd. Sanka Wijesinghe said "From morning these staff members were blocking the vehicles and not allowing the staff to transport cash."

The Bambalapitiya Police had been called in to bring the situation under control. Explaining the incident which triggered the confrontation, Mr. Wijesinghe said the 12 workers were removed as they were acting contrary to company regulations. "They were guilty of threatening the workers and sabotaging the whole process. Our staff carries millions of rupees from the Central Bank to our customers. We can't have staff who are indisciplined, because they are armed," he said.

On Thursday morning I announced we were closing the company, he said. The workers then went to meet the chairman and apologised for their actions and said they were willing to quit the union, he said.

"The Chairman is now looking into signing individual contracts so that we can re-employ the misguided workers," Mr. Wijesinghe said. "We have over 100 customers, and are the market leaders in cash management which means we carry cash and valuables from point A to B, packet salaries and collect cash from super markets, ATMs, etc. 80 percent of the banks are with us," he said.

There are 225 employees in the security transport division of whom 30 to 40 are hard core JVP members, he said. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva defended the JVP's right to take trade union action and carry out its political activities.

'Even when the PA was in power we were accused of carrying out union activities to disrupt the work of the government. The UNP is also saying the same thing, that our activities are aimed at disrupting the peace talks', he said.

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