Sri Lanka: Hundreds of plantation personnel strike to defend positions and social rights

About 500 Gartmore Estate employees at Maskeliya in central Sri Lanka keep on being on strike immediately after walking out on December 28 to protect their employment and social legal rights. On Wednesday, the strikers turned down an try by the plantation unions to drive them back to work.

Gartmore personnel are demanding a promise that their careers and ailments, together with provident fund and gratuity (pensions) payments will be ongoing by the new operator of the estate. The 290-hectare private estate was earlier owned by the Soyza household.

Line rooms at Gartmore Estate [Credit: WSWS Media]

Staff decided to strike past thirty day period independently of the plantation trade unions—the Ceylon Employees Congress (CWC), Nationwide Unions of Employees (NUW) and Up Nation People’s Entrance (UPF)—because these organisations are collaborating with administration.

The CWC is portion of the Rajapakse government with the union’s general secretary, Jeevan Thondaman, the current point out minister of plantation infrastructure. The other plantation unions are involved with the ideal-wing opposition celebration, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB).

On December 14, the staff had been told by the past proprietor that he would spend the gratuity of staff and retirees who had arrived at 55 to 60 many years of age. He also reported that the new operator would fork out all rewards when workers retired.

The strikers did not have faith in these assurances, and the promised payments have still not been made. 4 years ago, workers shed jobs when the Soyza loved ones previously marketed section of the estate.

Three rounds of latest discussions among the new administration, the unions and labour officials have failed because the new operator has categorically turned down workers’ needs.

On January 17, the new owner informed workers that they now confronted new disorders.

Gartmore employee Pushpawathy showing wall crack in line area dwelling [Credit: WSWS Media]

Any employee whose efficiency experienced been very low for the previous five several years, he declared, would not receive the promised gratuity payments and would be registered as a new employee. There are 53 personnel in this classification. The new administration also said that firewood for funeral homes would not be equipped mainly because of the shortage of trees on the estate.

Gartemore employees explained to the World Socialist Net Web site (WSWS) that the current owner options to establish tourist services on the estate, alternatively of tea, which would drastically decrease the workforce. Some employees also anxiety that important personal files, including start and loss of life certificates, overall health and other relatives papers, at the moment in the estate workplace would not be safeguarded under the new administration.