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Trade unionists condemn conspiracies against Govt




Leslie Devendra Somaweera Chandrasiri W.H. Piyadasa

Both local and Western anti-social and reactionary elements who supported the LTTE terrorists, now attempt to destabilise the UPFA Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President, Public Service Trade Union Federation, W.H. Piyadasa said.

He said that during the last thirty years none of the Presidents of this country, other than the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa could stand firmly against terror supremo Prabhakaran. The unpalatable policies of the JR, Premadasa, Chandrika and Ranil regimes led Prabhakaran to go in search of his far-fetched dream of Eelam. Ranil Wickremesinghe without the concurrence of his Cabinet or the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga signed the Ceasefire Agreement drafted by Norway and more or less surrendered to Prabhakaran one third of the country, he said.

“The Ranil-Prabhakaran pact was a result of an international conspiracy. The ring leaders of that conspiracy are of both local and foreign origins and are still active in their spheres of influence.

They are the people who work tirelessly against President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government. To them, the elimination of Prabhakaran and his terror group who butchered thousands of innocent children and civilians including political leaders amounts to violation of human rights.

“They wanted the United Nations to initiate inquiries against violations of human rights and bring those responsible for war crimes to book, clearly there is an international conspiracy against President Mahinda Rajapaksa supported by a set of bankrupt local politicians and some NGOs”, Piyadasa said.

Seven trade unions funded by NGOs have appealed to the European Union not to grant GSP Plus facility to Sri Lanka. They have also submitted a so-called human rights violation report to the European Union. They should know that from this region, human rights are best safeguarded in Sri Lanka. The public and corporate sector workforce must understand that their main responsibility at this juncture is to safeguard the Government against local and international traitors. Enemies both internal and external can do nothing against the Government if the workforce rally round the President. The three-decade long terrorist war could finally be eliminated within a short span of two and a half years. Due to the strong leadership of the President and the commitment on the part of the Defence Secretary, soldiers under their commanders fought ‘tooth and nail’, sacrificing their precious lives. The workforce of this country should learn a lesson from our patriotic soldiers who laid down their precious lives in liberating the motherland from the marauding LTTE terrorists. They should work hard to make the Government’s development drive a complete success. Sri Lanka has to follow India, China, Malaysia and Singapore, who have made tremendous strides in the development of their economies. We, including our politicians should change our life patterns to suit the country, in which the majority of the people belong to the poorest of the poor segment. Why should we follow capitalist life patterns? The time is ripe to effect the necessary changes and rebuild our nation, he said.

President, Labour Union Federation Somaweera Chandrasiri said that Sri Lanka could successfully face conspiracies such as the 1958 S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike assassination, 1962 military coup, and 1977 ULF Government defeat. Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted to the office of President due to his long people-and worker-friendly political career. No other leader has ever rendered such selfless service. That is why the reactionary elements, both domestic and external, are at work to dethrone him from the country’s leadership. Today he is not only Sri Lanka’s leader, but a progressive Asian leader as well, Chandrasiri said.

Development

President Mahinda Rajapaksa annihilated the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world within a short span of two and a half years and heralded a new era, which his predecessors failed to accomplish during the last 30 years. Now he has accepted the next important challenge of developing the country. The responsibility of the workforce is to extend to him their fullest support to achieve his development targets.

“When we have a leader who listens to our grievances and provides relief, why should we resort to such things as work-to-rule campaigns or strikes? For example, when trade union leaders, during last Monday’s meeting, complained about the high bank interest rates, the President took prompt action to bring down the interest rates in State banks,” Chandrasiri pointed out.

The employees of State corporations, whose salaries are paid by the Treasury, have no moral right to demand salary hikes or special allowances. They must work together and make those corporations profitable ventures. It is a well-known fact that at present the financial situation of the Electricity Board, Water Board and Petroleum Corporation has deteriorated. It was the UNP regime that wanted to destroy these corporations and hand them over to the private sector at rock-bottom prices. That was fortunately reversed by the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government, he said.

The paramount duty of the employees as well as the trade unions is to back the policies of the Government to the hilt and condemns outright attempts at internal and external conspiracies.

Sri Lanka which has all the resources to reach self-sufficiency is now on the right path under the far-sighted leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The country should unite forgetting petty differences, to achieve the national targets and become a prosperous country, he said.

The sole responsibility of the trade unions is to work for the betterment of the working class. Seven trade unions which are funded by NGOs including a UNP trade union have requested the US Government to stop assistance to Sri Lanka that will directly result in our workers losing their jobs, said President, SLFP Trade Union Federation, Leslie Devendra. “These trade unions had sent a report to the US Government through the American Federation of Labour-AFLCIO, requesting that assistance to Sri Lanka be stopped. Later, the US authorities held an inquiry into the alleged violation of basic labour rights in Sri Lanka and found the allegations to be devoid of truth. No doubt, there is a conspiracy by certain local and foreign elements against the Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

It is inhuman to carry out a campaign demanding the abolition of the GSP Plus facility to Sri Lanka which threatens the job security of seven hundred thousand local garment factory workers, he said.

In history, no other president has listened to the working class grievances as President Rajapaksa.

Prompt attention

The President meets the trade unions very often. He invites not only the Government affiliated trade union leaders, but other leading union leaders as well to those meetings such as the one held last Monday at Temple Trees. He pays prompt attention to all trade union grievances unlike his predecessors, since he is much closer to the working class.

Last January, the President assured the working class that in the ensuing year salaries would be increased. His desire was to pay arrears with the salary hike. Anti-government trade unions of essential services such as Electricity, Ports and Petroleum are trying to create trouble, disturbing the peaceful atmosphere restored in the country by the President after eradicating the 30-year-old LTTE terrorism.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are round the corner. The trouble makers under the influence of bankrupt and power hungry politicians aim at creating artificial shortages of goods and services to embarrass the Government.

The same strategy was adopted by J.R. Jayewardene in 1977 to grab power from the coalition government led by Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

The working class must support the President’s efforts to develop the country. The leader who liberated the country from the LTTE is strong enough to achieve his development goals.

Discipline is essential for development; Malaysia, Singapore and China achieved self-sufficiency through good governance and discipline. It is time for the working class as well as the political leaders to change their mindset and be disciplined in the interest of the country, Devendra said.

 

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