Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Sri Lanka power union announces strike, raising risk of blackouts

Commodities Jun 08, 2022 02:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Diesel vehicles queue up in a long line to buy diesel due to a fuel shortage countrywide, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte 2/2

By Uditha Jayasinghe

COLOMBO (Reuters) -A power sector union in Sri Lanka said on Wednesday it will go on an indefinite strike from midnight in protest against new government legislation, potentially leading to power blackouts in a country already grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades.

Some 900 out of around 1,100 engineers of the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Sri Lanka's main power company, will not report for duty on Thursday and those already at power plants, transmission and distribution facilities will leave at midnight, the CEB Engineers' Union said.

That prompted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to issue a gazette notification late on Wednesday declaring electricity supply as an essential service. The legal directive makes it mandatory for engineers to report to work.

Sri Lanka's deepest economic crisis since independence in 1948 has upended lives of many of its 22 million people, with long queues for fuel and cooking gas, alongside shortages of essentials including medicines.

The country was also plagued by long power cuts earlier this year after a shortage of foreign currency hit imports of fuel needed to generate electricity, though the situation has improved as monsoon rains drive hydropower generation.

But the looming strike could bring back power outages, with no breakthrough so far in talks between the CEB Engineers' Union and government authorities.

The union is protesting against government plans to amend legislation governing the country's power sector, which include removing restrictions on competitive bidding for renewable power projects.

"Talks with the minister have been unsuccessful. These amendments are deceitful and are aimed at cancelling the competitive bidding scheme, which exists to ensure the public get electricity at the lowest cost," the union's Joint Secretary Dhammika Wimalaratne told Reuters.

"We can in no way agree to this."

Sri Lanka's government, under new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been pushing renewable energy as a potential solution for its power woes, with early interest from some international players including India's Adani that is looking at a 500MW solar and wind project.

Kanchana Wijesekera, the country's power and energy minister, said he expected parliament to pass the amended regulations on Thursday and accused the union of blocking much-needed reforms.

The amendments would "pave the way for quick approval and implementation of long delayed renewable power projects," he said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka has been asking friendly nations, including India and China, for credit lines, food and energy. India has already committed billions of dollars in financial support.

Chinese banks reached out to Sri Lankan authorities after the country suspended repayment on some of its external debt in April and "expressed readiness" to find a way to "handle the matured debts", China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"China is ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka's response to current difficulties and efforts to ease debt burden and realize sustainable development," Zhao told reporters.

Sri Lanka power union announces strike, raising risk of blackouts
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email