Posted because of the Overseas Committee regarding the International that is fourth)
Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies
By Naveen Dewage
7 February 2020
Final month, 130 employees favorable link during the state-owned Kahatagaha Graphite Lanka Limited (KGLL), hit for 3 days to need better pay and dealing conditions. They reluctantly decided to phone from the attack following a conversation because of the industry ministry, labour division officials and business administration in the Kurunegala Labour workplace. State officials as well as the business promised to deal with workers’ demands within 30 days.
The three-day walkout and hunger protest in the mine, that has been held in defiance of this mine unions’ leadership, had been 1st commercial action this season since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse stumbled on energy. It absolutely was a definite indicator associated with nature associated with battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation of the working class, while the fast split up of illusions into the brand new federal government.
The 2 unions in the mine are neighborhood branches regarding the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, which will be affiliated towards the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that is now giving support to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), as well as the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United nationwide Party (UNP) union.
KGLL workers 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’ve been methodically dodged by the governments that are successive the help of these unions.
If the Sri Lankan federal federal federal government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006, as a result of its closing by a private business that formerly managed it, employees had been compelled to signal an understanding which they will never form trade unions. Presently the workers are compensated a meagre day-to-day danger allowance of simply 20 rupees (US 11 cents) to the office 600 metres underneath the ground in Sri Lanka’s biggest and mine that is deepest.
In 2016, KGLL employees demanded a 400-rupee day-to-day danger allowance. This is refused by handling of the state-owned business, which introduced a 400- rupee day-to-day motivation allowance but as long as 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 year and proper 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 can be an insult to your KGLL employees who’ve perhaps perhaps not gotten a wage enhance since 2012 and would include simply 1,200 rupees for their month-to-month income.
The workers restricted claims and their three-day hit and hunger protest delivered a surprise revolution through the federal government. Industry and Logistics Management Minister Wimal Weerawansa ominously told employees never to cause “any inconvenience” to your federal federal government. The ministry additionally imposed a news blackout, fearful that the attack might encourage other chapters of the working class to do something over their long-outstanding needs.
One of many KGLL workers’ main demands is the fact that they be brought underneath the Office and stores Act, instead of the wage that is current Ordinance which presently determines their wages. This useless workout, which seeks an answer through the prevailing capitalist labour rules, will likely not win the mine employees’ fight for decent wages, working hours and conditions.
Within the last analysis, whichever labour law can be used, the settlement may be centered on an understanding amongst the trade unions, that do not express the employees, and management that is mine. More over, this new Rajapakse federal federal government, like its predecessor, really wants to impose brand new labour rules, claiming that the prevailing plans are hampering international investment.
A 1,000-rupee daily wage and told students that he will address all of their welfare issues while slashing corporate taxes to lure investors, Rajapakse has promised the plantation workers. These “promises” are bogus and directed at hoodwinking the people within the lead as much as an early on election that is general.
Under conditions of decreasing economic development, the Rajapakse regime confronts a major economic crisis—the product of this international financial downturn—and massive repayments on international and domestic loans.
As well, the Global Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding that the financial deficit be paid down to 3.5 percent of gross domestic item, which means that slashing subsidies, enhancing the cost of basics, while the privatisation or commercialisation of state-owned corporations and departments.
President Rajapakse recently reactivated the Strategic developing venture Act, first introduced by their cousin and President Mahinda that is former Rajapakse. Under this work, international investors receive income tax breaks all the way to 25 years along with other incentives that are profit-boosting.
Sri Lanka has some regarding the purest that is world’s so that the federal federal government is especially focusing on the graphite industry for international investment.
A public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with the blessing of the government, began mining and exploration operations at Karasnagala in Sri Lanka’s Gampaha District on December 13, the Ceylon Graphite Corp. It desires to expand the amount of mines it presently runs in Sri Lanka from 3 to 5 this present year.
Other operators are the Bora that is australia-based Bora business and also the privatised Bogala Graphite Lanka, that 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 effort to privatise the business in 2016.
The IMF interest in more privatisation or commercialisation of state-owned enterprises is always to increase productivity, slash jobs and drive up earnings.
President Rajapakse happens to be being promoted by their governmental henchmen, the organization news additionally the pseudo-left as being unlike any kind of Sri Lanka president. He could be, they claim, somebody available to dialogue with protesting employees and pupils. This will be a fraud.
Rajapakse’s feigned concern is just a hopeless and manoeuvre that is temporary stop the eruption of the mass movement over jobs, residing costs as well as other basic legal rights, that could jeopardize not only their presidency but capitalist guideline in general. Employee unrest when you look at the graphite mining, a market Colombo really wants 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 increasing opposition that is social of, youth therefore the rural bad. For this reason he has got promoted extreme-right elements and army males in to the key federal government jobs. Rajapakse’s ultimate aim is to possess constitution amended so he is able to establish an authoritarian regime sustained by the army.
Rajapakse’s battle when it comes to presidency had been supported by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite who have been afraid of, and determined to crush, the strikes and mass working course opposition that threw the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe federal government therefore the entire capitalist guideline 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 only mine administration 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, improve their conditions that are social protect their fundamental legal rights without challenging capitalism.
To be able to move forward workers need a unique governmental strategy. Production and circulation needs to be reorganised to profit nearly all culture, maybe perhaps not the rich few. This could easily simply be accomplished through the nationalisation for the major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, plus the banking institutions—under the democratic control of the working course. This program that is socialist simply be implemented by bringing to energy a workers’ and peasants’ federal 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 employees must build action committees individually for the unions and just just simply take all decision-making within their own fingers. Because they build these committees employees can unite with wider parts of the class that is working Sri Lanka and internationally. Sri Lankan mine employees seem to be section of worldwide course brothers exploited by exact exact same international 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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