Ceylon Mercantile & General Services Union (CMU), United Federation of Labour and Ekeswara Kottegoda jointly filed a petition against the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution today. Further, the Ceylon Teachers Union also has filed a separate petition. So far 18 petitions have been filed against the 20th amendment. A discussion with other Trade Unions has been scheduled for 28th Monday to examine further steps to be taken to stop this amendment,
As much as infringements on peoples’ sovereignty, the Trade Unions are particularly concerned with the introduction of urgent bills which could be passed overnight with a simple majority in the Parliament. Such bills do not accommodate sufficient time for deliberations or judicial review. Governments in the recent past, including the Yahapalana Government, have tried to introduce various bills which are against the interests of the working people and which violate their labour rights. Counter-Terrorism Act, a unified labour law and attempts to weaken the EPF are a few examples. These attempts failed due to enormous pressure mounted by the working people, but urgent bills would completely deny this space. Trade Unions foresee many other such attempts in the future. MCC agreement proposed to be signed between the Government and the MCC would be one of them. The proposed 20th Amendment is an undemocratic attempt by President Gotabaya Rajapakshe as it erases all avenues for the masses to exercise their democratic rights to mobilise and dissent.
Hearing of these petitions will be commenced from 29th September before 5 member Supreme Court bench.