Sri Lankan public meeting: Lessons of the plantation workers’ struggle

5 November 2009

The Socialist Equality Party and the Balmoral Action Committee will hold a joint meeting on November 15 at Agarapathana, in Sri Lanka’s central hills district, to discuss the political lessons of the plantation workers’ struggle.

Balmoral estate workers at Agarapathana formed an independent action committee in mid-September in response to the sell-out deal imposed by the trade unions on plantation workers. The collective agreement ties workers to poverty-level wages and onerous productivity targets for another two years.

In an appeal to all workers, the Balmoral Action Committee warned that all unions, including those that claimed to oppose the deal, were seeking to suppress any independent struggle by plantation workers. A month later, that warning has proven correct. After delaying any action until after the Deepavali festival on October 17, the “opposition” unions now accept the agreement as a fait accompli.

Throughout the island, workers are facing the same problem: the trade unions function as industrial policemen for employers and the government in imposing the burden of capitalism’s economic crisis on the working class. Working people can only break out of this straitjacket by taking matters into their own hands and waging a political struggle based on a socialist perspective to refashion society to meet the pressing needs of the majority, rather than the profits of the wealthy few.

Speakers at the meeting will review the strategic experiences of the working class and outline the socialist strategy needed to defend the rights and living standards of workers. We urge all workers and youth to attend.

Venue: Holbrook ground, Agarapathana

Time: Sunday, November 15, 11 a.m.

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