Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers’ Union celebrates May Day

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 02:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

This year, the Executive Committee of the Union decided to celebrate May Day on its own, as an independent, working people’s organisation and issued the following statement 

The urgent need of the hour is to rebuild the CMU as a powerful, independent workers’ organisation that it once was. Our members are facing enormous difficulties due to the unprecedented economic crisis that has been brought about by the failure of successive governments, and large scale corruption. There has been a massive increase in the cost of living, while our real wages have declined alarmingly. Further, the full weight of the brutal, IMF-imposed austerity measures has fallen on the working people of this country, including our members. 

Our employers have done little or nothing to help us overcome this crisis and as a result there has been a steep and dangerous drop in our living standards.

In this context we have to urgently organise ourselves first at the branch level in order to effectively bargain for better terms and conditions of employment. To do this we have to educate and empower ourselves. We must mobilise our resources to take trade union action if needed to pursue our just and reasonable demands.

Meanwhile, the President and his Government are actively engaged in preventing any form of democratic protest action against their anti-people and anti-working class policies. They have introduced the Anti-Terrorism Bill which gives sweeping powers to the President and the Police to detain and imprison anyone who they believe is a threat to them and this exploitative system. The Government is also contemplating a Unified Labour Law that will replace many of the prevailing labour laws that offer a number of benefits and protections to workers which were won only as a result of years of trade union agitation. These sinister attempts to undermine fundamental and democratic rights of workers and other citizens must be defeated. This is a wider struggle that an organised and effective CMU must wage in alliance with other trade unions and like-minded organisations.

In this context, May Day this year is of special significance. The themes of our May Day are:

1. Rebuild the CMU.

2. Defend living standards of working people.

3. Fight for a minimum living wage.

4. Resist attempts to impose debt burden on working people.

5. Defeat anti-democratic Anti-Terrorism Bill.

6. Defeat attempts to suppress workers’ rights and benefits through a Unified Labour Law.

7. Strengthen the working class movement.

Faced with the serious issues confronting the working people of this country we will mobilise ourselves for effective action of our own and in collaboration with other trade unions and like-minded organisations.