The distribution of fuel at the Lanka India Oil Company (LIOC) storage tanks in China Bay, Trincomale came to a standstill yesterday due to a token strike by the employees.
The employees are demanding an eight per cent salary increase and other benefits similar to those enjoyed by their counterparts at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. They said under the MoU entered into at the time the storage tanks were handed over to the LIOC, the workers were entitled to similar facilities and privileges enjoyed by those at CPETCO.
They accused the LIOC administration of violating the MoU and suppressing the rights of the employees.
The strikers carrying placards and banners obstructed the main entrance preventing the entry of fuel bowsers to the storage area.
Sri Lanka Independent Employees Union President Sarath Sirisena said the salary increase of eight per cent was due in June but is in arrears now.
He said the company’s Indian employees were entitled to a Rs.5 million life insurance cover, but these benefits had been denied to the Sri Lankan employees. Mr. Sirisena said the token strike was just a warning and that the workers would resort to more drastic trade union action if their demands were not granted.
Meanwhile, the IOC claimed that there were no disputes between the company and the trade unions because their demands were already agreed to.
The 8% increase of salary promised by the company and it would be provided to employees on August 15 after it was being approved through a formal process.
IOC officials said the public would not face any difficulties regarding the supply of fuel due to the trade union action. (Nishan Casseem and Amadoru Amarajeewa)