Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 June 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Strikes on the decline- Verité

An analysis of strikes in the past decade, conducted by Verité Research, identifies two key trends.

There is a general downward trend in the number of strikes recorded over the last decade but also a departure from this trend in the last 12 months.

A recent strike to gain widespread media attention was the islandwide strike launched on May 11 by the powerful health sector union, Government Medical Officers'Association (GMOA), which was called off after arriving at an agreement with the ministries with regard to their demands.

Additionally, the non executive staff of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) on May 29 and the non academic staff of state universities in Sri Lanka 48-hour token strike on May 22 are some of the most recent strikes.

The basis of the GMOA ,CEB and the State Universities non academic staff action, relating to higher remuneration, is similar to that of many other union actions in the past few months –the recent sharp increases in prices being a common factor that have lent legitimacy for these demands.

In the last year there has been an increase in the number of strikes which is a departure from the general downward trend observed in the past few years.In the context of the past 10-year period the prevalence of strikes by private-sector workers and those of semi-government institutions (a broad classification that covers a myriad institutions ranging from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority) has generally declined.

During this period the highest record of 104 strikes in 2002 is followed by a steady decline over a period of 5 years where 2007 recorded only 25 strikes. This amounted to a 76 percent decline in the number of strikes over these five years. Excluding a sudden increase in 2008, where the number of strikes doubled from 25 in 2007 to 51, this downward trend has continued in 2009 where only eight strikes were recorded. However, recently, yet another spike in the number of strikes is to be noted.

Within the last year, the number of strikes rose to 27 which is more than three times the number of strikes held in 2009. The demands laid on the table at the recent GMOA strike were in relation to financial benefits due to the workers; a theme prevalent throughout many other strikes in the last year.

Increase in salaries, payment of additional allowances was the main demand in approximately 40 percent of the strikes carried over the recent period of increased strikes.

The intensification of both strikes and other trade union actions could be seen around midyear last year, some of the most prominent being the work-to-rule action by the Federation of University Teacher’s Association (FUTA) in May 2011 followed soon after by various unions such as the CEB union and the Sri Lanka Telecom trade unions demanding payment of salary arrears exemplifies several strikes in relation to such financial benefits.

However, the demands that prompted other strikes within the last year pertain to a range of objectives from demanding the arrest of a suspect in the death of a doctor in a road accident,to a request for recruiting of new workers, protesting pension schemes and even protesting the removal of the Post Master General who had been accused of massive corruption.

The most recent strike carried out by trade unions in five banking sectors called for the resignation of the National Savings Bank Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam, over a controversial share transaction amounting to Rs.390m. Strikes or other trade union actions action in such circumstances have not been limited to wage negotiation or other economic motivations.

There is a wider array of motivations, in areas of governance and social justice, for which collective bargaining is being utilised in Sri Lanka.

The use of collective bargaining in this manner is significant as it can be viewed as both a reassertion of the power of unions and their loss of faith in resolving not only economic grievances but also issues relating to institutional performance through negotiation.



Casons Rent-A-Car
Millennium City
Donate Now |
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Magazine |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2012 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor