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A center for

working class...our prominent aim !

REDPOWER interview with Comrade S. Amarasinghe (Inter Company Workers’ Union)


Q: Sri Lankan trade union has a history more than of 100 years. Traditional trade unions have confiscated the worker forces for their purposes. Can you liberate them from the existing trade union ideology?

Comrade Amare: Actually we had difficulties at the beginning. But we had the determination and faith on working class organization. We had hopes for victory, not short term but in the long term. Our aim was “ a union for a profession, a center for the working class”.

This was something new for the Sri Lankan working class. Most of the workers were attracted by this political slogan. Those trade union branches that were affiliated to traditional mother unions left them and joined with us. Newer branches and this type of activated traditional branches have now become aware of their follies. They have entered the actual working class struggle with an actual working class leadership.

Then many of the traditional trade union leaders with the help of police attempted to obstruct our activities and suppress our organizations. We too try to utilize capitalist laws to face these conspiracies. However these capitalist backed trade unions and traitor leaders have no working class support. And their enmity is too continuing.

Q: Contemporary capitalism has decreased worker welfare and the rights of workers to organize themselves are denied. What are your steps to face this?

Comrade Amare: We observed this trend in two sides. Firstly, having seen the deterioration of their capital, business community tried to increase its exploitation. Globalization has invaded the limits of the local capitalism. They have no positive idea on trade unions. Then the trade union activities with such employers become much difficult.

Next, we know that the workplaces of foreign investors are much more easier to cope with. They are not much aroused against trade unions. They suppose that the worker welfare is at least helpful for the capital security in the long run. But we expect some day they will also come down to the oppressive mode just as the local employers.

Q: What is your message to the working class?

Comrade Amare: Its obvious that a broader scale working class victory can be achieved only if the working class movement is well organized and well armed with political awareness. But comparing to the capital being integrated working class has not being integrated for collective activities.

Now the basic economic factors are being prepared and a social transformation is expected. Working class has the need to get organized. One place to learn the lessons to become a collective working class movement is ICWU. So I invite the Sri Lankan workers to join with us and see whether we can fight for the rights demanded by labour.