Private fuel tanker owners call off strike | Daily News

Private fuel tanker owners call off strike

Fuel distribution activities to resume as normal

The Ceylon Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association called off their strike action yesterday evening.

The Association decided to call off the strike reportedly after receiving an assurance from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe regarding the increase in bowser hiring charges.

A Spokesman for the Association said that fuel distribution activities will resume as normal as the union action has ended.

Meanwhile, addressing a media briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday afternoon, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that the distribution of fuel cannot be disrupted due to trade union action and that steps will be taken to directly register new bowsers.

He noted that steps have been taken to provide these new registration quality checks within three days. He added that he was ready to go for an alternative at any time and hoped to discuss with the Railway Department today (03) the steps needed to be taken regarding the transportation of fuel by rail.  

The Minister noted that fuel distribution operations would be restored to normalcy within the next three days, expressing his regret for the inconvenience caused.

He threatened to cancel the licenses of bowsers that do not report for operations. Accordingly, steps have been taken to issue new licenses for new bowsers and a separate gantry was set up at Muthurajawela from yesterday to remove the obstacles for the bowsers of petrol station owners in obtaining fuel, the minister said.

The Ceylon Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association withdrew from fuel transportation activities from midnight on Saturday (April 30), demanding an increase in their tariffs.

As a result, fuel distribution operations in the country were severely hampered while the distribution of fuel from the Muthurajawela terminal had come to a complete halt by Sunday.

The strike action had also led to the temporary closure of several fuel stations while long queues were seen at some fuel stations yesterday. The union warned that they will continue their strike action if the government fails to take steps to increase their transport charges in line with the high fuel prices as well as the increase in spare parts. However, by evening yesterday they had come to an agreement after discussions with the Minister and called off their strike.

The Energy Minister had earlier tweeted saying alternative methods are in place to continue the fuel distribution without interruption if private bowser owners withdraw from operations. Accordingly, Minister Wijesekara assured that fuel distribution operations would be back on track within the next three days.


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