Sri Lanka: Union leader released after abduction

Striking SLT workers.

A union leader, M Sujeewa Mangala, was found blindfolded and dumped by the roadside on February 1, three days after being abducted by unknown armed men.

Mangala, the vice-president of the All-Ceylon Telecommunication Employees Union, has been playing a leading role in the struggle of temporary workers at Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) for permanency. The workers are classified as “temporary” even though some have been working at SLT for more than a decade.

They are employed through SLT Human Capital Solutions, a labour hire company that is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom. They receive lesser pay and conditions than permanent workers.

During his captivity, Mangala was threatened in a bid to make him call off the six week long strike of the temporary workers.

SLT is partially state-owned, and is chaired by Kumarasiri Sirisena, brother of Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena.