Plantation protestors light lamps

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 February 2001, 21:43 GMT]
Sri Lanka's plantation sector workers lit lamps Wednesday night in Hatton, a large town in the island's tea producing central province, on the third day of a protest fast campaign demanding an increase on their current daily wage of 101 rupees (1.14 US Dollars). Hundreds of workers, mostly ethnic Tamils, joined the 'satyagraha' fast Wednesday afternoon despite being advised by their trade union, Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), that they should not stay away from work. The CWC is major coalition partner of the ruling People's Alliance (PA) government in Colombo.

Opposition trade unions in the plantations charged that the CWC is running with the hare and hunting with the hound by coaxing the workers against a general strike while staging the token protest with its pro-government officials and politicians ostensibly to demand higher wages for them.

A spokes person for the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna pointed out that the CWC and the PA averted a major shut down in the plantation sector on the eve of the polls to the Sri Lankan Parliament by promising to raise wages if elected.

The lamps were lit to mark the Tamil holy day of Maha Sivarathiri, a spokesman for the CWC told TamilNet.

Mr. Arumugam Thondaman, the Minister for Livestock and Estate Infrastructure Development, led the 'Satyagraha' protest.

Workers in Sri Lanka's tea plantations were given a raise of six rupees in January 2000 after a strike that threatened to paralyse the island's tea industry. A ten-day protest on the eve of the general elections in October, elicited a promise from Colombo for a further increase commensurate with the rising cost of living.

The CWC contained worker unrests and apprehensions over the privatisation of the state run plantation managements in 1993 by promising to grant land and provide housing for the resident labour force of this key sector of the Sri Lankan economy. Mr. Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman, the grandfather of Arumugam Thondaman, was a powerful cabinet minister in the United National Party government at the time.

An agreement between the CWC and the government was signed in 1993, guaranteeing a housing authority for the plantations and redistribution of redundant land on tea and rubber estates in the central province.

The agreement was never implemented although the CWC leader continued as an important and powerful ally of the UNP regime.

In 1994 when the People's Alliance came to power, Thondaman and his MPs, elected on the UNP list, crossed over to the government ranks in the Parliament. Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman died in 1999. His grandson Arumugam Thondaman succeeded him, despite opposition within the party.


Latest 15 Reports
21.10.17 21:46  
Unitary constitution imposing choice irrelevant to fundamentals needs rejection by Tamils
20.10.17 07:02  
Jaffna University students boycott classes against manipulative justice of genocidal Sri Lanka
19.10.17 17:11   Photo
Sirisena disappoints student leaders, Cooray humiliates families of hunger-striking prisoners
18.10.17 23:45  
Eastern Provincial Land authority discriminates Tamils
17.10.17 18:46   Photo
Paramilitary operative employed at Cooray's secretariat in Jaffna harasses public servants
16.10.17 07:15   Photo
UN Refugee agency ignorant of stranded Tamil refugees in Indonesia
15.10.17 19:12  
Tamil fisherman rammed by intruding Sinhala fishermens’ boat, fishing disputes escalate in Jaffna
14.10.17 07:34   Photo
Tamil protesters confront Maithiripala Sirisena in Jaffna
13.10.17 17:40   Photo
North at standstill, Sampanthan not to accompany Sirisena to Jaffna
12.10.17 23:35  
SL military postpones land release for 2 years as UN awarded Colombo with 2 more years in Geneva
11.10.17 23:48   Photo
20 Tamil organisations to lay siege to SL Governor's office on Friday
10.10.17 22:05   Photo
SL ‘Manipulative Justice’ exposed once again in Tamil political prisoners’ case: Sivapalan
09.10.17 22:09  
Protests gain momentum as hunger-striking political prisoners’ health deteriorates
08.10.17 23:00   Photo
SL constitutional discourse seen coupled with ‘Vision 2025’ policy of genocidal Sri Lanka
07.10.17 23:21  
Colombo brings Sinhala private partnerships to wage structural genocide in Vanni
Find this article at: