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

Posted by the Global Committee for the Fourth International (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 working conditions. They reluctantly consented to phone from the attack following a conversation because of the industry ministry, labour division officials and business management at the Kurunegala Labour workplace. State officials and also the business promised to handle employees’ demands within four weeks.

The three-day walkout and hunger protest in the mine, that was held in defiance of this mine unions’ leadership, ended up being 1st commercial action this present year since President Gotabhaya Rajapakse stumbled on energy. It had been a clear indicator associated with nature for the battles in the future, the increasing radicalisation associated with working course, and also the fast separation of illusions within the government that is new.

The 2 unions during the mine are neighborhood branches for the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, which can be affiliated towards the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) this is certainly now giving support to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), plus the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, a United nationwide Party (UNP) union.

KGLL employees complain that the senior leaders among these unions ignore their demands. 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 called for better pay, they are methodically dodged by the successive governments with the help of the unions.

Once the Sri Lankan federal federal federal government reopened the Kahatagaha graphite mine in 2006, as a result of its closing by way of a private business that formerly managed it, employees 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 largest and mine that is deepest.

In 2016, KGLL employees demanded a 400-rupee risk allowance that is daily. It was refused by handling of the company that is state-owned which introduced a 400- rupee day-to-day motivation allowance but only when workers collectively accomplished 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. 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 into the KGLL employees who possess perhaps perhaps not received a wage increase since 2012 and would include just 1,200 rupees for their monthly wage.

The workers restricted claims and their strike that is three-day and protest sent a surprise wave through the us government. Industry and Logistics Management Minister Wimal Weerawansa ominously told employees to not cause “any inconvenience” to your 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 the fact that they be brought beneath the Office and stores Act, as opposed to the wage that is current Ordinance which presently determines their wages. This exercise that is futile which seeks an answer through the current capitalist labour guidelines, will likely not win the mine workers’ battle for decent wages, working hours and conditions.

Within the last analysis, whichever labour law can be used, the settlement would be according to an understanding involving the trade unions, that do not express the employees, and management that is mine. More over, the brand new Rajapakse federal federal government, like its predecessor, desires to impose brand brand new labour laws and regulations, claiming that the present plans are hampering international investment.

While slashing business fees to attract investors, Rajapakse has guaranteed the plantation workers a 1,000-rupee day-to-day wage and told pupils which he will deal with all their welfare dilemmas. These “promises” are bogus and geared towards hoodwinking the populace when you look at the lead as much as an early on general 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.

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

President Rajapakse recently reactivated the Strategic developing Project Act, first introduced by their bro and President Mahinda that is former Rajapakse. Under this work, foreign investors are given taxation breaks all the way to 25 years along with other incentives that are profit-boosting.

Sri Lanka has some for the world’s purest graphite and so the federal government is especially focusing on the graphite industry for foreign investment.

On December 13, the Ceylon Graphite Corp, a general public business noted on the Toronto stock market, using the blessing of this government, started mining and research operations at Karasnagala in Sri Lanka’s Gampaha District. It would like to expand how many mines it presently operates in Sri Lanka from 3 to 5 this current year.

Other operators through the Australia-based Bora Bora Resources business plus 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 is an effort to privatise the ongoing business in 2016.

The IMF interest in 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 governmental henchmen, the organization news and also the pseudo-left as being unlike virtually any Sri Lanka president. He could be, they claim, some body available to dialogue with protesting workers and pupils. This really is a fraudulence.

Rajapakse’s feigned concern is just a hopeless and short-term manoeuvre to avoid the eruption of the mass movement over jobs, residing costs as well as other fundamental legal rights, that could jeopardize not merely their presidency but capitalist guideline in general. Employee unrest within the graphite mining, a business Colombo really wants to start as much as increased investor that is foreign needs to be avoided without exceptions.

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

Rajapakse’s battle when it comes to presidency ended up being 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 year that is last “For a nation to be governed successfully, you want 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, boost their social conditions and 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, maybe perhaps not the rich few. This will simply be accomplished through the nationalisation for the major industries and enterprises—the large estates, the mining corporations, together with banks—under the democratic control of the class that is working. This socialist system can simply be implemented by bringing to power a workers’ and peasants’ federal government into the fight for international socialism.

Like in other workplaces, the experiences regarding the Kahatagaha miners graphically indicate that the trade unions are becoming tools for the state and employers.

Miners as well as other employees must build action committees separately of this unions and just take all decision-making in their very own fingers. Because they build these committees employees can unite with wider chapters 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 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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