Raw deal from successive Govts. - July ’80 strikers
Aug 16, 2012
The 1980 July Strikers’ Association yesterday launched a massive protest opposite the Fort Railway Station saying that even after a lapse of 33 years the authorities had failed to resolve their problems. The protest by the July ’80 strikers who lost their jobs compelled the police to close the road opposite the railway station causing heavy traffic jams for more than three hours.

The protesters who engaged in a Sathyagraha campaign attempted to march towards the presidential secretariat but barricades put up by the police prevented them from doing so. The elderly protesters then attempted to push down the barricades and this resulted in a tense situation with several senior police officers falling on the barricades.

Meanwhile, the association alleged that several of their members were assaulted by a police officer and said it would lodge a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

It said necessary measures would be taken to complain to the Geneva UN Human Rights Council about this longstanding matter.

Later three representatives of the association were allowed to go to the presidential secretariat office and talk to an additional secretary.

Expressing his views on the discussions, the association secretary P. Amaradiwakara said the additional secretary promised to arrange a meeting with presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga within two weeks.

Mr. Amaradiwakara said the July strikers had been cheated since 1980 by successive governments hoodwinking them with various promises. He said some 7,000 workers had suffered from the aftermath of the July ’80 strike and even claimed that several people who led the strikers’ movement were now holding ministerial portfolios. He urged the President to intervene and resolve this matter because he had a fairly good knowledge of what led to the strike and its aftermath.

The protesters urged the government to allocate Rs.50 million in the next budget and resolve this longstanding matter.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka