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Bus unions split over strike

2013 Jul 11

By Umesh Moramudali


While the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) was scheduled to go ahead with the nationwide bus strike, midnight yesterday, Inter-provincial Bus Owners' Association (IBOA) and All Island Private Bus Owners' Federation (AIPBOF) announced they would stay away from the strike.



General Secretary of the AIPBOF, Anjana Priyanjith, told Ceylon Today they decided not to support the bus strike, alleging the LPBOA has always deceived bus owners.

He said, however, the AIPBOF demands 10% bus fare hike, which was due on 1 July according to the National Bus Fare Policy.



Meanwhile, the IBOA stressed they are willing to negotiate with the Ministry of Private Transport Services and the National Transport Commission (NTC) about the bus fare revision, adding that they will not extend their support to the strike action launched by the LPBOA.



President of the IBOA, Sarath Kumara, said there are more than 3,200 buses plying on inter-provincial routes and all those bus services will be conducted as usual.



"We will give our support to the NTC, to provide additional bus services as well," he emphasized. He added, they have informed the President to provide some reliefs to bus owners and if the government provides enough reliefs to them, there would not be a requirement for a bus fare hike. However, Minister of Private Transport Services, C.B. Ratnayake said, although annual bus fare hike was due on 1 July, majority of the bus owners' unions came to the discussions held with the President and agreed to take reliefs instead of a bus fare hike. However, the LPBOA did not take part in discussions.



He insisted the ministry is there to protect commuters, and added that it is unfair to launch strikes when the government has agreed to provide them reliefs.

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