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

Published by the Overseas Committee regarding the 4th Overseas (ICFI)

Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

By Naveen Dewage
7 February 2020

Last thirty days, 130 employees in the state-owned Kahatagaha Graphite Lanka Limited (KGLL), struck for 3 days to demand better pay and dealing conditions. They reluctantly consented to phone from the hit following a conversation using the industry ministry, labour division officials and business administration during the Kurunegala Labour workplace. State officials as well as the business promised to deal with employees’ demands within 30 days.

The walkout that is three-day hunger protest in the mine, that has been held in defiance of this mine unions’ leadership, ended up being the initial commercial action in 2010 since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse found energy. It had been an obvious indication associated with nature regarding the battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation of this working course, additionally the fast separation of illusions within the brand new government.

The 2 unions during the mine are neighborhood branches for the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, which can be affiliated to your Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that is now giving support to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), in addition to Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United National 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. As the mine employees have actually formerly taken action over their harsh working conditions and required better pay, they are methodically dodged by the governments that are successive the support of the unions.

If the Sri Lankan federal government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006 auto title loans, after its closing with a private business that formerly managed it, workers had been compelled to signal an understanding which they wouldn’t normally form trade unions. Presently the employees are compensated a meagre day-to-day danger allowance of simply 20 rupees (US 11 cents) to focus 600 metres underneath the ground in Sri Lanka’s biggest and mine that is deepest.

In 2016, KGLL employees demanded a 400-rupee risk allowance that is daily. 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 achieved a month-to-month manufacturing 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. Until then, the employees got a pittance increment of 50 rupees every single day, being a “temporary” solution.

The 50-rupee “temporary” solution is an insult towards the KGLL employees who possess maybe not gotten a wage increase since 2012 and would include simply 1,200 rupees with their month-to-month wage.

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 cause inconvenience that is“any to your federal federal government. The ministry additionally imposed a news blackout, afraid that the hit might encourage other chapters of the class that is working do something over their long-outstanding needs.

Among the KGLL workers’ main demands is they be brought underneath 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 prevailing capitalist labour regulations, will maybe not win the mine workers’ battle 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 represent the employees, and mine management. More over, the brand new Rajapakse federal government, like its predecessor, desires to impose brand brand brand new labour guidelines, claiming that the prevailing plans are hampering investment that is foreign.

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 when you look at the lead as much as an earlier election that is general.

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

At precisely the same time, the Global Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding that the financial deficit be paid off to 3.5 per cent of gross domestic item, which means that slashing subsidies, increasing the cost of basics, in addition to privatisation or commercialisation of state-owned corporations and divisions.

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 holiday breaks all the way to 25 years along with other profit-boosting incentives.

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

On December 13, the Ceylon Graphite Corp, a public business noted on the Toronto stock market, with all the blessing of this federal government, started mining and exploration operations at Karasnagala in Sri Lanka’s Gampaha District. It would like to expand the sheer number of mines it presently runs in Sri Lanka from 3 to 5 this season.

Other operators range from the Australia-based Bora Bora Resources business plus the privatised Bogala Graphite Lanka, which will be a subsidiary of Germany’s Graphite Kropfmuhl GmbH which includes 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 company 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 their governmental henchmen, the organization news therefore the pseudo-left as being unlike just about any Sri Lanka president. He’s, they claim, somebody available to dialogue with protesting employees and pupils. This will be a fraudulence.

Rajapakse’s feigned concern is just a hopeless and short-term manoeuvre to avoid the eruption of a mass movement over jobs, residing costs along with other fundamental legal rights, that will threaten not merely their presidency but capitalist guideline all together. Worker unrest within the graphite mining, a market Colombo desires to open as much as increased foreign investor, 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 poor. This is the reason he’s got 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 they can establish an authoritarian regime supported by the army.

Rajapakse’s fight for the presidency ended up being supported by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite who have been fearful of, and determined to crush, the strikes and mass working course opposition that threw the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe federal government in addition to 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 but Colombo’s pro-investor policies, IMF-dictated austerity, the drive towards an authoritarian regime and, above all, the profit system that is outmoded. Workers cannot defend their jobs, enhance their social conditions and protect their basic legal legal rights without challenging capitalism.

To be able to move forward workers need a brand new strategy that is political. Production and circulation must certanly be reorganised to profit nearly all culture, maybe not the rich few. This could easily simply be accomplished through the nationalisation of this major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, as well as the banking institutions—under the democratic control of the working course. This socialist system can simply be implemented by bringing to energy a workers’ and peasants’ federal federal government when you look at the fight for worldwide socialism.

Like in other workplaces, the experiences for the Kahatagaha miners graphically indicate that the trade unions have grown to be tools for the state and companies.

Miners as well as other employees must build action committees separately of this unions and just take all decision-making within their very own fingers. Because they build these committees employees can unite with wider parts of the working course in Sri Lanka and internationally. Sri Lankan mine workers seem to be element of worldwide course brothers exploited by exact 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 suggests:

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