Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/542/6279

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 July 2008

Sri Lanka general strike

Strikers rally outside the Ministry of Health in Colombo, photo by CWI

Strikers, joined by Siritunga (centre of picture) rally outside the Ministry of Health in Colombo, photo by CWI

The Sri Lankan government, continuing to bombard the north of the country in the 25 year long civil war, has been faced with a new challenge. On Thursday 10 July, a warning general strike was held demanding increased wages to cover massive price rises.

Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary, United Socialist Party, CWI Sri Lanka

The strike was called by the unions which are run by the pro-war People's Liberation Front (the predominantly Sinhala chauvinists 'Marxist' JVP). It was also supported by other unions and by the United Socialist Party (USP).

The strike was not 100% supported for a number of reasons, including lack of preparation.

The government and their coalition partners - the Communist Party and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party - did everything possible, including using government machinery and the armed forces, to sabotage the strike.

At the same time, the government said that this strike was to support the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, against whom they are fighting the war.

All the media gave big publicity to the government's statements. But, in spite of government suppression, the strike was a partial success.

On the day, the streets of Colombo had a holiday feel about them. Expecting a major stoppage, very few people even tried to travel.

At the government printing works, where the USP share the union leadership and where there were preparatory mass meetings to mobilise support, the strike had a 90% turnout. As secretary of the USP, I was invited to speak at their strike day rally.

Later we went to a mass picket, of around 1,500 strikers, outside the health ministry. The strike was roughly 50% successful in the hospitals, schools, postal service, tea plantations and bus services.

Almost all the trade unions in Sri Lanka have been supporting the capitalist communal government of Rajapakse. Now, with prices rising faster than in any other Asian country - on average around 30% - and because of the pressure from workers, the union leaders have been compelled to go for strike action.

Some trade unions did not support the strike call because they are against the JVP politically. Workers do not have much confidence in the JVP because it fully supports the war and votes with the government every month to renew the anti-working class emergency provisions. Under these measures, the army was deployed in hospitals and on public transport during the strike. These provisions were also used to try to stop our picket meeting at the government printing works.

Siritunga outside the Ministry of Health in Colombo, photo by CWI

Siritunga outside the Ministry of Health in Colombo, photo by CWI

Speaking at the rallies and to the media, the USP said this strike was a beginning. Now there is a realisation that independent action must be taken. We are calling for bigger action, organised in a more collective way.

On 10 July, the second biggest Sinhala daily paper - Lakbina - had front page headline news on the strike with statements from the JVP and the USP. The government say they cannot afford a 5,000 rupee (25) monthly rise for one million state employees.

We said they could start by cutting the number of cabinet ministers. There were 110 ministers, with another one appointed the day before the strike. Each of them, with their fat salaries, cars, staff, subsidised housing and fuel, consumes at least 200,000 rupees a month of public money. We were also interviewed for many TV channels.

The USP are now calling on all unions to summon a national convention of factory level leaders to prepare for the next stage of action.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 16 July 2008:

Global finance crisis deepens

Feature: Price inflation - the sickness of capitalism


Global Warming

Change the system! not the climate


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka general strike

Military threat to Iran stepped up


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS - birthday greetings and warnings

Ambulances - calls doubled, no extra staff

Polyclinic courts Branson

Ex-Foley-ated! Union bashing NHS boss resigns as staff defeat pay cuts


Socialist Party campaigns

Glasgow East by-election Socialist change needed

Durham Miners' Gala rejects New Labour

One Wales rule for the rich...

Post Office Leeds: Haranguing in the rain

Greenwich: Employers' hypocrisy

Bangor: Bus protest


Workplace news and analysis

Visteon takeover: Workers' determination defends conditions

Shop stewards conference: Workers and war

Workplace news: In brief


Anti-racism

Notts campaign against the racist BNP grows

Anti-racism stall in Wrexham

No to the BNP's attempt to divide Stoke's communities!

'Dear Boris' - we will NOT be silenced!


The Socialist Comment

Government attacks single parents


Socialist Party review

Live Working or Die Fighting: How the working class went global


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Sri Lanka:

triangleBuilding a working-class movement for Tamil rights

triangleSri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan

triangleKashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

triangleTamil Solidarity Day: Linking up oppressed people's struggles

triangleIndia: Modi victory underlines need for real socialist fightback

Strike:

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

International

International

31/5/20

US

Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd

27/5/20

Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

27/5/20

Lebanon

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

8/4/20

CWI

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

8/4/20

Amazon

Amazon workers threaten revolution!

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999