World Socialist Internet Site. Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

World Socialist Internet Site. Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

Posted by the Global Committee of this International that is fourth)

Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

By Naveen Dewage
7 February 2020

Final thirty days, 130 employees during the state-owned Kahatagaha Graphite Lanka Limited (KGLL), hit for three times to demand better pay and working conditions. They reluctantly consented to phone from the attack following a conversation utilizing the industry ministry, labour division officials and business administration in the Kurunegala Labour Office. State officials together with company promised to deal with employees’ demands within per month.

The walkout that is three-day hunger protest in the mine, that has been held in defiance for the mine unions’ leadership, had been the very first commercial action in 2010 since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse stumbled on energy. It had been an obvious indicator associated with nature associated with battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation for the working course, in addition to quick split up of illusions when you look at the brand new federal government.

The 2 unions in the mine are regional branches regarding the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, which will be affiliated to your Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that is now supporting the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), in addition to Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United nationwide Party (UNP) union.

KGLL workers complain that the senior leaders of the unions ignore their needs. These unions, in reality, are notorious for opposing workers’ demands and acting as strikebreakers. Although the mine employees have actually formerly taken action over their harsh working conditions and required better pay, they’ve been methodically dodged by the successive governments with the help of the unions.

If the Sri Lankan government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006, as a result of its closing by way of a company that is private formerly managed it, workers had been compelled to sign an understanding which they will never form trade unions. Presently the employees are compensated a meagre day-to-day danger allowance of simply 20 rupees (US 11 cents) be effective 600 metres underneath the ground in Sri Lanka’s biggest and deepest mine.

In 2016, KGLL employees demanded a 400-rupee day-to-day risk allowance. This is refused by handling of the company that is state-owned which introduced a 400- rupee daily motivation allowance but only when workers collectively accomplished a month-to-month manufacturing target of 70 metric tonnes.

During last month’s attack, the us government officials promised that the mine employees’ demands—which included wage increments, reduced amount 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 an insult to your KGLL employees that have perhaps maybe perhaps not gotten a wage increase since 2012 and would include simply 1,200 rupees for their month-to-month wage.

The workers restricted claims and their strike that is three-day and protest delivered a shock revolution through the us government. Industry and Logistics Management Minister Wimal Weerawansa ominously told employees never to cause inconvenience that is“any towards the federal government. The ministry additionally imposed a news blackout, afraid that the attack might encourage other parts of the working course to do something over their long-outstanding needs.

One of several KGLL workers’ main demands is they be brought beneath the Office and stores Act, as opposed to the wage that is current Ordinance which currently determines their wages. This exercise that is futile which seeks an answer through the current capitalist labour laws and regulations, will likely not win the mine employees’ battle for decent wages, working hours and conditions.

Within the last analysis, whichever labour law can be used, the settlement will undoubtedly be centered on an understanding between your trade unions, that do not express the employees, and mine management. Furthermore, the brand new Rajapakse federal federal government, like its predecessor, would like to impose brand new labour regulations, claiming that the current plans are hampering investment that is foreign.

While slashing business taxes to attract investors, Rajapakse has promised the plantation employees a 1,000-rupee day-to-day wage and told pupils which he will address all their welfare problems. These “promises” are bogus and targeted at hoodwinking the people into the lead as much as an early on basic election.

Under conditions of decreasing financial development, the Rajapakse regime confronts a major monetary crisis—the product for the international financial downturn—and massive repayments on international and domestic loans.

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 Development venture Act, first introduced by their cousin and President Mahinda that is former Rajapakse. Under this work, international investors get income tax holiday breaks all the way to 25 years along with other incentives that are profit-boosting.

Sri Lanka has many for the world’s purest graphite therefore the federal federal government is particularly focusing on the graphite industry for international investment.

On December 13, the Ceylon Graphite Corp, a general public business noted on the Toronto stock market, aided by the blessing of this federal government, started mining and research operations at Karasnagala in Sri Lanka’s Gampaha District. It would like to expand how many mines it presently runs in Sri Lanka from three to five this season.

Other operators are the Bora that is australia-based Bora company while 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 foreign investors will see further moves to privatise KGLL. There clearly was an endeavor to privatise the ongoing business in 2016.

The IMF interest in more commercialisation or privatisation of state-owned enterprises is always to increase efficiency, slash jobs and drive up earnings.

President Rajapakse happens to be being promoted by their governmental henchmen, the organization news therefore the pseudo-left as being unlike some other Sri Lanka president. He could be, they claim, some body available to dialogue with protesting employees and pupils. It is a fraudulence.

Rajapakse’s feigned concern is really a hopeless and manoeuvre that is temporary stop the eruption of a mass movement over jobs, residing costs as well as other fundamental liberties, that could jeopardize not only their presidency but capitalist guideline in general. Employee unrest within the graphite mining, a market Colombo desires to start as much as increased investor that is foreign needs to be prevented no matter what.

Rajapakse, in reality, is collecting their forces when preparing to crush the rising social opposition of employees, youth additionally the rural bad. For this reason he’s got promoted extreme-right elements and army guys to the government that is key. Rajapakse’s aim that is ultimate to possess constitution amended so they can establish an authoritarian regime supported by the army.

Rajapakse’s battle when it comes to presidency had been supported by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite who had been afraid of, and determined to crush, the strikes and mass working course opposition that threw the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe federal federal government therefore the entire capitalist guideline into an emergency.

As President Rajapakse declared during their stop by at Asia a year ago, “For a country to be governed successfully, you may need stability. … Without stability, investors won’t come. ”

The Kahatagaha graphite miners—like other employees coming forward to guard their social rights—confront not merely mine management but Colombo’s pro-investor policies, IMF-dictated austerity, the drive towards an authoritarian regime and, above all, the outmoded revenue system. Workers cannot defend their jobs, boost their social conditions and protect their fundamental legal legal legal rights without challenging capitalism.

In order to go forward workers need a fresh strategy that is political. Production and circulation must certanly be reorganised to profit nearly all society, maybe perhaps maybe not the rich few. This could simply be accomplished through the nationalisation associated with the major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, plus the banking institutions—under the democratic control over the working course. This program that is socialist simply be implemented by bringing to power a workers’ and peasants’ federal government within the battle for worldwide socialism.

The experiences of the Kahatagaha miners graphically demonstrate that the trade unions have become tools of the state and employers as in other workplaces.

Miners along with other workers must build action committees individually associated with the unions and simply simply 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 workers seem to be section of worldwide course brothers exploited by exact same worldwide corporations.

The Socialist Equality Party urges the Kahatagaha mine employees to occupy this challenge that is political.

The writer additionally advises:

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