‘A better future for the working class’
The unity of working people essential to rebuild the nation and I am
confident that you will not deviate from this task, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa addressing the May Day rally of the UPFA held in Colombo said.
He said he would not permit outside influences to create disputes and
destabilise the country. “We will never deny the people’s right to
change governments through Universal Adult Franchise,” he said stressing
the importance of increasing the country’s productivity as ‘imperialists
are operating in various forms to acquire national assets’.
The President said imperialists are still under the impression that
countries like Sri Lanka are their colonies and it was for this reason
that ‘they exert more pressure on us’.
The President emphasised that what the government, the working
community and the country at large have gained should be protected from
these imperialists. “The country was deprived of the GSP facility and
the Opposition thought that the government was on the verge of being
overthrown by the working masses.’ ‘But that did not happen’, the
“The members of the working class worked harder and effectively
tackled the challenge facing the country. The working masses,
irrespective of racial, religious and other petty differences should
show more commitment to the country”, he said.
President Rajapaksa also stressed that the Government led by him
adopted a policy of not recognising such differences in its effort to
achieve freedom for the country.
”The UNP should apologise for depriving the Tamil community of its
rights in the Jaffna district by carrying out the infamous vote rigging
at the District Development Council election in Jaffna and for the
destruction of the Jaffna Library before they hold a May Day rally in
I was delighted on hearing the news that the UNP was organizing its
Rally in Jaffna after the government wiped out terrorism from the
country”, he said.
He said that the Government increased the workforce in the government
sector and one in every ten persons is a government servant at present.
“The government did not adopt a policy of privatising State ventures
to fill the State coffers”, he said recalling how the State workforce
was dwindling during the UNP regime as they adopted a policy of not
recruiting personnel for State sector.
“We have ensured a better future for members of the working
community. The President said that the government faced the looming food
crisis by initiating a number of programmes to grow food crops locally
and these programmes have borne fruit. He said that the people
themselves can feel how their village, town and cities and the country
at large are being developed.
The President said that the government has placed enormous confidence
in the working masses and has built up a stable economy in the country,
“We have great pride at the worldwide recognition received for our
labour standards and practices that fully honour and observe the
conventions and agreements of the International Labour Organization.
We have successfully raised the current pace of economic growth in
the country to 8.3 per cent. As the moving force behind this success the
working people of our country fully deserve all honour and pride for
Therefore, it is now the time for them to participate in the
victorious celebration of International Workers’ Day.
The country is now on the correct path of sustainable development,
which will take both city and village towards progress and prosperity
with speed, in the absence of conflict. Similarly, the Government is
paying necessary and proper attention to the needs of the farm, field
and workplace. Necessary regulations are in place for security of
employment, health and welfare of working people, all of which are
targeted towards development.
I value very much the manner in which our working people, setting
aside all differences, have aligned themselves behind the progressive
policies of Government to achieve the goal of development. They have
correctly understood that such unity will secure the sovereignty of the
country and ensure economic success.
It is also noteworthy that we have seen to the dawn of a time when
the people of the North and East, who were denied even the right to life
during three decades of terrorism, today enjoy the right to celebrate
May Day in freedom. It is the responsibility of our day to ensure that
the working people of Sri Lanka are not divided regionally whether
northern, southern or eastern, but come together for the country, under
the single National Flag of unity.We see the continued emergence of
diverse conspiracies to drag the working people and country to the
depths of destruction. I am confident that, as in the past, the working
people of today too, would defeat all such conspiracies based on narrow
political aims and opportunist self interest, to strengthen and protect
their unity and rights.
I believe that the best tribute we can pay on this International
Workers’ Day to the former leaders of the working people and the sweat
and tears of our workers is to ensure the prosperity of the people and
It is my wish that the support hitherto extended to the Government by
the working people would continue to be given to overcome the challenges
before us in achieving development and protecting national unity”.