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.
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.