Arpico Company was ordered to reinstate 159 workers

Arbitration court of the Labour Department ordered Richard Peiris Exports Ltd of Navinna to reinstate its 159 workers who were been dismissed 12 years ago.

Comrade HAK Chandana co-secretary of the Richard Peiris branch of the CMU was suspended by the company in 2007 framing false charges against him in order to disrupt the activities of the branch Union. Negotiations to reinstate him has failed and workers decided to go on a strike from 28th December 2007 demanding withdrawal of his suspension. The company dismissed all 159 workers who went on strike on 3rd January, 2008. The CMU filed a case at Labour Department.

Then Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge appointed an arbitrator to inquire the case. Giving his judgement arbitrator Mr. S Virithamulla has declared that the strike launched by the workers was justifiable and it did not amount to dismiss the workers. He further states that there was continuous attempt by the company to bust the union. Therefore he ordered to reinstate all the workers with back wages. Back wages of dead workers to be calculated up to the date of their death and to be paid to their heirs and workers who were at their retirement age should be calculated up to their retirement age. 

However the company has appealed to the Supreme Court to repudiate this judgement.  

By Wijepala Weerakoon