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

Posted because of the Global Committee regarding the 4th Overseas (ICFI)

Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

By Naveen Dewage
7 2020 february

Final thirty days, 130 employees 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 the strike off following a conversation using the industry ministry, labour division officials and business administration during the Kurunegala Labour Office. State officials while the business promised to deal with employees’ demands within four weeks.

The walkout that is three-day hunger protest within the mine, which was held in defiance for the mine unions’ leadership, ended up being the initial commercial action this season since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse stumbled on energy. It had been an obvious indicator associated with nature for the battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation of this working course, plus the quick separation of illusions into the brand new federal government.

The 2 unions in the mine are regional branches regarding the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, that is affiliated towards the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that is now giving support to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), additional reading plus the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United nationwide Party (UNP) union.

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

As soon as the Sri Lankan federal federal government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006, after its closing by a company that is private previously managed it, workers had been compelled to signal an understanding they will never form trade unions. Presently the workers are compensated a meagre daily risk allowance of simply 20 rupees (US 11 cents) be effective 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 rejected by handling of the company that is state-owned which introduced a 400- rupee daily motivation allowance but as long as workers collectively accomplished a month-to-month production target of 70 metric tonnes.

The government officials promised that the mine workers’ demands—which included wage increments, reduction of Saturday working hours, 21-days leave per year and proper payment of all other allowances—would be addressed by February 28 during last month’s strike. 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 towards the KGLL workers who possess maybe maybe maybe not gotten a wage enhance since 2012 and would include just 1,200 rupees with their month-to-month income.

The workers restricted claims and their strike that is three-day and protest delivered a shock revolution through the federal government. Industry and Logistics Management Minister Wimal Weerawansa ominously told employees to not ever cause “any inconvenience” into the federal federal government. The ministry additionally imposed a news blackout, fearful that the attack might encourage other parts of the working course to act over their long-outstanding needs.

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

Within the last analysis, whichever labour law is employed, the settlement should be according to an understanding between your trade unions, that do not express the employees, and management that is mine. Furthermore, this new Rajapakse federal government, like its predecessor, would like to impose brand new labour rules, claiming that the present plans are hampering international investment.

While slashing business fees 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 directed at hoodwinking the populace into the lead as much as an early on basic election.

Under conditions of decreasing financial growth, 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 developing venture Act, first introduced by their sibling and President Mahinda that is former Rajapakse. Under this work, international investors receive taxation vacations all the way to 25 years as well as other incentives that are profit-boosting.

Sri Lanka has some associated with world’s purest graphite therefore the 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 would like to expand the sheer number of mines it currently operates in Sri Lanka from 3 to 5 this current year.

Other operators are the Australia-based Bora Bora Resources business as well as the privatised Bogala Graphite Lanka, that is 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 is an endeavor to privatise the ongoing business in 2016.

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

President Rajapakse happens to be being promoted by his henchmen that are political the organization media together with pseudo-left as being unlike just about any Sri Lanka president. He could be, they claim, somebody available to dialogue with protesting employees and pupils. This might be a fraudulence.

Rajapakse’s feigned concern is a hopeless and manoeuvre that is temporary avoid the eruption of the mass movement over jobs, residing costs as well as other basic legal rights, that could jeopardize not merely their presidency but capitalist rule in general. Worker unrest when you look at the graphite mining, a business Colombo would like to start up to increased investor that is foreign needs to be avoided without exceptions.

Rajapakse, in fact, is collecting their forces when preparing to crush the increasing opposition that is social of, youth therefore the rural bad. This is the reason he has promoted extreme-right elements and army males in to the key federal government jobs. Rajapakse’s aim that is ultimate to possess constitution amended so he is able to establish an authoritarian regime supported by the armed forces.

Rajapakse’s battle for the presidency had been supported by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite have been fearful of, and determined to crush, the strikes and mass working course opposition that threw the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe federal government additionally the entire capitalist guideline into an emergency.

As President Rajapakse declared during their stop by at Asia a year ago, “For a nation to be governed successfully, you will 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 management but Colombo’s pro-investor policies, IMF-dictated austerity, the drive towards an authoritarian regime and, most of all, the outmoded revenue system. Workers cannot defend their jobs, enhance their conditions that are social protect their fundamental rights without challenging capitalism.

To be able to move forward workers need a unique strategy that is political. Manufacturing and circulation needs to be reorganised to profit nearly all culture, perhaps perhaps not the rich few. This may simply be accomplished through the nationalisation for the major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, therefore the banking institutions—under the democratic control of the class that is working. This program that is socialist only be implemented by bringing to energy a workers’ and peasants’ government into the fight 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 associated with the unions and simply simply take all decision-making within their very own fingers. Because they build these committees employees can unite with wider chapters of the working course in Sri Lanka and internationally. Sri Lankan mine employees are actually section of worldwide course brothers exploited by exact same corporations that are global.

The Socialist Equality Party urges the Kahatagaha mine employees to occupy this governmental challenge.

The writer additionally advises:

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