Two gazette notifications declaring essential services

00:00 Mar 13 2023 President Secretatriat

On 13th March and 17th March, the President issued two gazette notifications declaring all services
connected to postal services, supply of electricity, and distribution of fuel and petroleum products
as essential services, under the Section 2 of the Essential Public Services Act, No. 61 of 1979. Declaration as essential services has been historically used by repressive governments in Sri
Lanka to prevent trade union actions. This draconian law allows to impose 2 to 5 years of rigorous
imprisonment, forfeiture of property, and removal from professional registration against those who
engage in trade union actions violating the President’s order, though we have not seen use of this
law in such a drastic scale in the recent past.
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