Government should Identify the problems of workers and deal with them.
Fiftieth commemoration of Ceylon Socialist Labor Union was held at Kotte Town Hall on 19.01.2024 under the patronage of its President, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena .
At this conference, ten proposals were presented and adapted. They include the call for reducing of increased water and electricity bills, exempting the money received at the time of retirement from taxes , providing a salary suitable for the economy to the estate workers , and confirming the rights of women under the labor law.
Speaking on this occasion the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the federation stated that
"Contradictions are emerging between employers and working people. The government should not clash with the trade unions.They should identify the problems and deal with them effectively. It was proposed in this conference that a tripartite conference is required to find solutions for these issues by consensus.
Sectors that contribute less to the national economy get more privileges. We need to direct our working people towards the sectors that generate a higher income. The main issue faced by the working people is the increasing cost of living. Daily income begins to drop due to this issue.There is no need for politicians and trade unions to clash over this.There should be a mutual trust between politicians and trade unions to solve these problems and the ability to create innovative ways to solve them. Many problems can be solved by working together democratically.
During the periods when the private sector was very powerful, the working people had no protection. If they asked for a higher salary or to stop working till night, employers sacked them. It was possible to change that situation because the working people got together and made trade union as a center to take measures to win those basic rights.
In order to secure the labor law in Sri Lanka , our trade union started a series of discussions with other trade unions to make amendments suitable for the current situation.The Ceylon Socialist Labor Federation helped to change certain chapters completely. Because of that, we were able to become a strong trade union movement.
We cannot expect the development of the country as well as the institutional development from the board of directors alone. I strongly emphasize that we can’t keep full faith on the board of directors. Accordingly , a new step should be taken to achieve the protection of the rights of these institutions and employees under tripartite agreements.
Trade unions are the backbone of the country. Rather than being individual, the people who work together and organize themselves as trade unions can make a huge contribution to their rights as well as the development of their company and the development of the country."
Vice President of M.E.P, State Minister Sisira Jayakodi
"We are mourning for seventy-five years. But they do not talk about the condition of this country before independence. Laborers had no any right at that time. In such an era Mr. Philip Gunawardena, the main leftist leader and others started the anti-imperialist movement and contributed to the freedom struggle.
We extend the best wishes for the President of our Federation, on his appointment as Prime Minister. Leadership and the struggle he made on behalf of the rights of farmers, laborers, educated generation and suffering people of this country for a long time within the parliament and outside is a great strength for our Ceylon Socialist Labor Union Federation."
Deputy Secretary of M. E. P, Member of Parliament Yadamini Gunawardena
"This trade union movement is not a gift placed on a golden platter. Fifty years ago, these senior brothers and sisters started this movement with the leader in a very difficult period. Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena took the leadership of a political party without even a parliamentary representation with the objective of creating the future of the country for the betterment of working people together with young leaders like you. He took the leadership of the Ceylon Socialist Labor Union on behalf of the entire people by protecting the unitary state for the working people. It is not necessary to remind you that the only trade union movement that has won victories for the working people of the country for 50 consecutive years is the Ceylon Socialist Labor Union. We have to face an even more challenging period in the future. I would like to remind you that the future is a period in which we need to take the achievements further."
Tributes were also paid to the founding members of the Ceylon Socialist Labor Union
Greetings from fellow trade unions , Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Member of Parliament Gamini Lokage , President of Public Service United Trade Union Federation , W.A. Piyadasa , Secretary of the Ceylon Socialist Labor Union Federation, Ishara Dias were, present at the conference.
President of the Public Service United Nurses Association Ven Murutthettuwe Ananda Thera, Member of Parliament ,Madhura Withanage , Deshavimukti Janata Party Leader D. Kalansooriya , Sri Lanka Freelancers Union President ,Leslie Devendra , Secretary of Podujana Pragathisheelee Sewaka Sangamaya , Bandula Saman Kumara , Former President of Bank of Ceylon Employees Union, Rusirupala Thennakoon , President of Podujana Pravahana Sewaka Sangamaya ,Nurajit Singh , President of Podujana Rajya Sewaka Sangamaya ,Nadira Manoj , President of Podujana Palath Palana Sewaka Sangamaya ,Ananda Suriyaarachchi , President of Podujana Vatu Sewaka Sangamaya ,Shanta Sirimanna and many other trade union leaders participated in this event.