A group of workers attached to the state owned Kahatagaha Mine in Dodangaslanda have begun a death fast at a shaft which is located some 1132 feet under the ground, making several demands.
This shaft is said to be the deepest location inside the mine.
It was reported that 70 workers were engaged in the death fast. They are said to have entered the mine at 7.15 am and have not come out since then.
The lift which is used to bring workers to and from the mine is also reported to have come to a stand still as the workers have refused to operate it.
Workers supporting the death fast from out side said, they have lost communication with their colleagues who were inside.
Journalists who rushed to the scene were prevented from entering the premises as the main gate was locked.
The workers alleged that the employers have given festival allowances to only a handpicked group and those who have worked for nearly ten years in the mines have not been made permanent. They are demanding that all workers be paid the festival allowance and for those have worked for a long period of time to be made permanent.
Kahatagaha Graphite Ltd Chairman D. Kalansuriya said, the demands made by the workers were unfair and he had also briefed the Labour Commissioner on the situation.
He said he had requested for police protection. (Pushpakumara Jayaratne)