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World Socialist Internet Site. Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies
Posted by the Global Committee for the International that is fourth)
Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies
By Naveen Dewage
7 February 2020
Last month, 130 employees in the Kahatagaha that is state-owned Graphite Limited (KGLL), hit for 3 days to need better pay and dealing conditions. They reluctantly consented to call from the hit following a conversation aided by the industry ministry, labour division officials and business administration during the Kurunegala Labour workplace. State officials together with business promised to handle employees’ demands within per month.
The three-day walkout and hunger protest within the mine, that was held in defiance associated with mine unions’ leadership, had been initial commercial action this season since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse stumbled on energy. It absolutely was a clear indicator for the nature associated with battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation regarding the working course, while the fast split up of illusions within the government that is new.
The 2 unions in the mine are neighborhood branches associated with the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, which will be affiliated into the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) this is certainly now giving support to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), additionally the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United nationwide Party (UNP) union.
KGLL employees complain that the senior leaders among these unions ignore their needs. These unions, in reality, are notorious for opposing employees’ demands and acting as strikebreakers. Although the mine employees have actually formerly taken action over their harsh working conditions and needed better pay, they are methodically dodged by the successive governments with the help of the unions.
Once the Sri Lankan federal government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006, after its closing with a private business that formerly managed it, employees had been compelled to signal an understanding they will never form trade unions. Presently the employees are paid a meagre day-to-day danger allowance of simply 20 rupees (US 11 cents) to function 600 metres underneath the ground in Sri Lanka’s biggest and deepest mine.
In 2016, KGLL employees demanded a 400-rupee daily danger allowance. This is refused by handling of the state-owned business, which introduced a 400- rupee day-to-day motivation allowance but only when workers collectively accomplished a monthly manufacturing target of 70 metric tonnes.
During last month’s attack, the federal government officials promised that the mine employees’ demands—which included wage increments, reduced total of Saturday working hours, 21-days leave per 12 months and appropriate repayment of most other allowances—would be addressed by February 28. A day, as a “temporary” solution until then, the workers were given a pittance increment of 50 rupees.
The 50-rupee “temporary” solution is definitely an insult into the KGLL employees that have maybe maybe not gotten a wage enhance since 2012 and would include simply 1,200 rupees with their month-to-month income.
The workers restricted claims and their three-day hit and hunger protest sent a surprise wave through the us government. Industry and Logistics Management Minister Wimal Weerawansa ominously told workers to not ever cause “any inconvenience” to your federal federal government. The ministry additionally imposed a news blackout, afraid that the hit might encourage other chapters of the working course to do something over their long-outstanding needs.
Among the KGLL workers’ main demands is the fact that they be brought underneath the Office and stores Act, rather than the current Wage Board Ordinance which presently determines their wages. This useless workout, which seeks an answer through the prevailing capitalist labour regulations, will maybe not win the mine employees’ battle for decent wages, working hours and conditions.
Into the last analysis, whichever labour law is employed, the settlement will likely to be predicated on an understanding involving the trade unions, that do not express the workers, and mine management. Furthermore, the brand new Rajapakse government, like its predecessor, desires to impose brand new labour rules, claiming that the current plans are hampering investment that is foreign.
While slashing business taxes to attract investors, Rajapakse has guaranteed the plantation employees a 1,000-rupee day-to-day wage and told pupils which he will deal with all their welfare problems. These “promises” are bogus and targeted at hoodwinking the people within the lead as much as an earlier basic election.
The Rajapakse regime confronts a major financial crisis—the product of the global economic downturn—and massive repayments on foreign and domestic loans under conditions of declining economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding that the fiscal deficit be reduced to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, which means slashing subsidies, increasing the price of essentials, and the privatisation or commercialisation of state-owned corporations and departments at the same time.
President Rajapakse recently reactivated the Strategic developing venture Act, first introduced by their bro and President Mahinda that is former Rajapakse. Under this work, international investors get taxation holiday breaks as much as 25 years along with other profit-boosting incentives.
Sri Lanka has many associated with purest that is world’s therefore the federal government is especially focusing on the graphite industry for international investment.
On December 13, the Ceylon Graphite Corp, a public business noted on the Toronto stock market, utilizing the blessing associated with the federal government, started mining and research operations at Karasnagala in Sri Lanka’s Gampaha District. It would like to expand the amount of mines it presently runs in Sri Lanka from 3 to 5 this season.
Other operators are the Australia-based Bora Bora Resources business as well as the privatised Bogala Graphite Lanka, which will be a subsidiary of Germany’s Graphite Kropfmuhl GmbH that has other mining operations in Africa and Asia.
The government’s drive to attract more investors that are foreign see further moves to privatise KGLL. There is an endeavor to privatise the company in 2016.
The IMF need for more privatisation or commercialisation of state-owned enterprises is always to increase efficiency, slash jobs and drive up earnings.
President Rajapakse happens to be being promoted by their henchmen that are political the organization news in addition to pseudo-left as being unlike every other Sri Lanka president. He could be, they claim, somebody open to dialogue with protesting employees and students. It is a fraudulence.
Rajapakse’s feigned concern is a hopeless and manoeuvre that is temporary stop the eruption of the mass movement over jobs, residing costs as well as other fundamental liberties, that could jeopardize not merely their presidency but capitalist guideline all together. Employee unrest within the graphite mining, a market Colombo desires to start as much as increased investor that is foreign needs to be prevented without exceptions.
Rajapakse, in reality, is collecting their forces when preparing to crush the increasing opposition that is social of, youth therefore the rural bad. For this reason he’s got promoted extreme-right elements and army guys in to the key federal government roles. Rajapakse’s ultimate aim is to possess constitution amended so he is able to establish an authoritarian regime supported by the army.
Rajapakse’s battle for the presidency ended up being supported by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite have been afraid of, and determined to crush, the strikes and mass working course opposition that threw the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe federal federal government as well as the entire capitalist rule into an emergency.
As President Rajapakse declared during their trip to Asia year that is last “For a nation to be governed successfully, you’ll need stability. … Without security, investors won’t come. ”
The Kahatagaha graphite miners—like other employees coming ahead to guard their social rights—confront not merely mine administration installment loans for bad credit but Colombo’s pro-investor policies, IMF-dictated austerity, the drive towards an authoritarian regime and, first and foremost, the profit system that is outmoded. Workers cannot defend their jobs, enhance their social conditions and protect their fundamental legal legal rights without challenging capitalism.
To be able to move forward workers need a brand new strategy that is political. Distribution and production needs to be reorganised to profit nearly all culture, maybe maybe not the rich few. This could simply be accomplished through the nationalisation associated with major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, while the banking institutions—under the democratic control of the working class. This socialist system can simply be implemented by bringing to energy a workers’ and peasants’ federal federal government into the battle for worldwide socialism.
Like in other workplaces, the experiences regarding the Kahatagaha miners graphically indicate that the trade unions have grown to be tools associated with the state and companies.
Miners as well as other employees must build action committees separately of this unions and simply just take all decision-making within their hands that are own. Because they build these committees employees can unite with broader parts of the working course in Sri Lanka and internationally. Sri Lankan mine employees happen to be section of worldwide course brothers exploited by exact same corporations that are global.
The Socialist Equality Party urges the Kahatagaha mine employees to use up this challenge that is political.
The writer additionally advises:
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