“The country cannot go forward this way. This path should be directed in a new direction. We can assure you that this country would be taken towards prosperity. No other country could be developed if this country cannot be developed. We appeal to the working masses in this country to join the path that could build this country,” said the presidential candidate of the NPP, the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka speaking at the summit of the working masses held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium yesterday (12th) organized by the National Trade Union Center (NTUC).
Speaking further Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “According to the election schedule in this country a presidential election has to be held at the end of this year. Usually, at an election, the team that would rule the country during the next five years would be elected. This is not the first time such an election is held. However, the people in the country failed to elect the best for the country. The leaders and the team they elected have taken the country towards destruction.
This country need not be allowed to be further pushed towards destruction. We have to take over salvaging and building our country. No magician can build the country. Also, the jugglery of an individual cannot do it. It needs a collective effort of a good team. All developed states have been built with collective efforts. It needs the mediation of incorrupt intellectuals who are prepared to dedicate themselves for the development of the country.
It is you, the working masses, who produce capital for the country. You produce capital of US$88 billion a year. This capital is produced by the sweat shed by the working masses. You are the honourable shareholders of the capital produced in this country. The working masses that represent the state, semi-government and estate sectors work according to a plan prepared by the political leadership. However, the political leaderships that have ruled this country have destroyed the network of state institutions. The loss in the CEB in 2018 was Rs. 29,000 million. The loss at CPC was rs.10,400 million. The water Board has incurred a loss of Rs.598 million. The loss at SriLankan was 17,000 million. The State Engineering Corporation reports a loss of Rs. 1024 million. The loss incurred by Milco was Rs.670 million, at CWE it was Rs.2000 million and at Government Press the loss was Rs. 406 million.
What has happened? The trade unions of working masses continuously tell us that these institutions need not incur losses. They have fallen to this state as a result of decisions of the political leadership. What the government did when semi-governmental institutions incur losses was to sell such institutes. We would halt such moves. Those institutions should be handed over to correct managements. When Milco came under our purview it had an overdraft of Rs. 500 million. However, when we left the government it had a fixed deposit of Rs. 200 million. Handing over positions to relatives and political henchmen should be stopped. Today the semi-governmental institutes have become places filled with political appointees. Ministers through various projects steal public money. This state must be stopped.
Laws will be amended so that the working masses would get their salaries increased according to the living index so that they will be content therewith. We would stop the ‘manpower’ slave trade and filling vacancies of permanent positions on a contract basis. We would take measures to place graduates at appropriate positions so that they could be an asset to the country. We would pledge to provide the working masses with a salary so that they could make their ends meet and lead satisfactory lives. We would remove all salary anomalies that torment the working masses in all sectors.
All working masses engaged in various professions, whether in the state, semi-government, private or estate sectors, carry out a social task. As such, looking after them when they retire from their work is a social duty. EPF is such a social protective fund. The EPF was plundered during the 2008-2012 period so that political henchmen could gain profits. The loss was 28000 million. When Central Bank bonds could be bought directly, EPF bought bonds through Perpetual Treasuries incurring a loss of Rs.20000 million to the EPF. Under our administration, this fund would be protected and measures would be taken to get benefits for the working masses.
Now, those who are recruited to the state sector have been denied pension rights. We pledge that the pension rights that have been denied to them would be restored. Those who are engaged in self-employment do not get any social protection when they grow old. As they, who had carried out a social task, should be looked after and such a programme would be implemented.
Today the working masses have to work overtime as their monthly salary is not sufficient to make the ends meet. They have to work for 10 to 12 hours. On the other hand, the working masses are fatigued due to the inefficient transport services. They attempt to find solutions for their transport issues using the money need for their domestic spending. According to a study, less than 40% pay up to the final leasing instalment. Many have been subjected to unnecessary suffering due to the inefficiency of the transport services. We would stop the unnecessary pressure people are subjected to due to inefficient transport services and establish an efficient public transport service.
The working masses have to allocate a large portion of their salaries for education and health. This state should be immediately stopped. We would establish an efficient health service instead of the present health services where patients have to seek the assistance of the private sector which is very expensive. Education that has come out of the school network which is very expensive and beyond the majority of our working masses will be taken back to the schools which would be made true places of learning and character building.
The country cannot go forward with the present rulers and those who have ruled it in the past. Country’s path should be directed in a new direction. We can assure you that this country would be taken towards prosperity. No country could be developed if this country cannot be developed. We appeal to the working masses in this country to join the path that could build this country.”
Comrade Lal Kantha, President of National Trade Union Center (NTUC), Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe and several other speakers addressed the summit.