Tamil Solidarity campaign mark Sri Lanka independence 2022
Tamil Solidarity campaign mark Sri Lanka independence 2022

The following is a model resolution to be passed at trade union meetings in support of workers fighting back in Sri Lanka as part of the mass movement against the cost-of-living crisis and repressive government.

This branch/union notes:

Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis in its history. The prices of essentials, food, and fuel has increased manifold. Mass struggle has erupted recently demanding improved conditions and the resignation of the corrupt government. A general strike – a Hartal – also took place supporting the demands of the masses. The dictatorial president, who is also accused of committing war crimes against Tamils, was forced to resign. However, the so-called ‘new’ government has refused to implement any changes or the demands of the mass movement. Instead, repression and attacks on democratic rights have intensified. The army is led by Shavendra Silva, who is named in a UN report as a war criminal and is now in control of the whole island, implementing repressive measures.

The repressive Sri Lankan government is trampling democratic rights:

  • Freedom of speech – opposition politicians, trade unionists, civil rights campaigners, and journalists continue to face repression, and severe restrictions remain in place on the media
  • Freedom of assembly – more and more places are put under police and military control prohibiting any gathering. All the protests are currently attacked and protesters arrested in each time
  • Workers’ rights – The Sri Lankan government is brutally anti-union. The workers’ leaders are arrested and charged for simply protesting to defend workers conditions. Labour rights are under attack. The government is further taking actions to limit or stop trade union activities
  • The right to a decent life – public services are being privatised, and workers’ conditions are being attacked across the board. This will also facilitate the rapid commercialisation of the island’s resources. The climate of fear created by the government has restricted the political activities of Tamils, Muslims and hill country workers

This branch resolves:

  • To affirm its solidarity with the struggle of workers, students and youth in Sri Lanka
  • Support the movement for a people’s council in Sri Lanka
  • To demand that the Sri Lankan government:
  • Allow all democratic rights including freedom of assembly, free speech, and freedom for dissent
  • Stop attacking the protests and arresting protesters
  • To release all activists immediately, including Wasantha Mudalige, convenor of the student union, and others who are held. And drop all charges against the activists
  • Abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)
  • To support the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), Independent Ceylon Teachers Union (ICTU) to produce a bulletin for its members
  • To publicise the activity of Tamil Solidarity and other events organised by the Tamil community in defence of their rights
  • To support the development of independent trade unions in Sri Lanka and to help monitor conditions in the workplaces
  • To forward this motion to regional/national bodies of our union as appropriate, and encourage them to support/affiliate as appropriate

The affiliation fee is £250 – or to make a one-off donation. Cheques payable to: Tamil Solidarity (see tamilsolidarity.org for details) – contribution towards assisting the work of teachers union and other unions in Sri Lanka.