Trade Unions tell European Union to stay with Sri Lanka


A group of trade unions from across the political divide has called on the European Union (EU) to have a re-think on any plans to withdraw the GSP+ trading facility provided to Sri Lanka saying it would hurt the average worker and the masses.

The Trade Unions made this request during a meeting with an EU delegation that is currently in the country on a fact-finding mission, at the EU Mission in Colombo on Thursday.

“The EU delegation was informed that if this trading facility is halted at any future date, the ultimate casualty will be the workers and the average citizens of this country,” said Palitha Atukorale, a spokesman for the grouping.

There are certain issues that have to be addressed by the State, but at the same time it was not appropriate for such a decision even later on, the EU delegation was informed, according to Mr. Atukorale.

The EU delegation told the trade unionists that they were merely on an annual fact-finding mission and that they had no mandate to implement decisions.

“The delegation did not elaborate”, Mr. Atukorale said.

The TU delegation comprised the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, Free Trade Zone Workers’ Union, Ceylon Mercantile Union, National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka, United Federation of Labour, Estate Staffs Union, Ceylon Bank Employees Union and an activist from a Free Trade Zone.