The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka are holding a public meeting in Maskeliya on July 5 to defend the victimised workers of the Glenugie tea plantation Deeside division.
On May 22, the Glenugie plantation management sacked three workers—SEP supporter G. Wilfred, M. Nesturiyan and F. Franklin—and suspended four workers, S. Duglasnuman, F. Anton Julian, S. Benedict and S. Janaratnam, for a month. False allegations were made against them of attacking an assistant superintendent and stirring up a wasp nest to disrupt the work of other workers. Charges based on this frame-up were also filed at the Hatton Magistrates Court.
These workers were punished for playing a leading role in a three-day strike in February against an arbitrary increase in workloads. The victimisation of the Deeside workers reflects the deepening attacks on all sections of the working class by the Sri Lankan government and private companies in order to impose the burden of the intensifying crisis of world capitalism.
With tea and rubber export income declining amid heightened competition on world markets, the Sri Lankan plantation companies are desperate to defend their profits by freezing wages, slashing workers’ benefits and increasing workloads. The plantation unions are collaborating in the Deeside estate witch-hunt, in line with their enforcement of these attacks on workers’ conditions.
Workers should take this victimisation as a warning to the whole working class. The SEP and IYSSE invite workers and youth to attend the meeting, and join our campaign to defend the jobs and democratic rights of the Deeside workers.
Dinesh Reception Hall (Janasathya Colony)
July 5, 2 p.m.