2The present rigid wages policy in the private sector in the context of falling real wages, inflation andrising prices has resulted in the pauperization of the working people. A recent study of the ILO hasbrought out the startling figure of nearly one million belonging to the working poor in Sri Lanka.The problem of rising prices, fundamental rights and freedom and the right to employment, law andorder, good governance and national unity are issues that concern the whole society and trade unionsbeing one of the few coherently organised and articulate groups in civil society should take centrestage in promoting and espousing the common cause.Things need to change. But the present state of our trade unions is not very encouraging. Only about15% is organised. Our organizational strength need to be fortified so that it will serve as a pole of attraction to the un-organised. We have been indulging in sectarian activities for too long dissipatingour strength in the process. The socio-economic changes that are taking place locally and the worldover in the world of work and society bring out the urgent need for unity of trade unions, of theworking people. Past attempts at trade union unity often collapsed due to partisan politicsovershadowing the need of the times.It is time we cast away our petty differences and think afresh in the larger interests of the workingpeople and society.
Kelaniya, Lumpen Nationalism and the Left
Mahinda RatnayakeKelaniya is the birthplace of Vihara Maha Devi, the national heroine who, it is said, offered herself insacrifice to save the country from the wrath of the sea that flowed inland. There is an undisputedbonding between Kelaniya and Magampura, in hoisting the Sinhala Buddhist State in Lanka. Perhapsfor that reason, President Rajapakse, who hails from Magampura, chose another from the same areaas his representative for Kelaniya.
State patronage for lumpen activities
This son from Magampura proved himself qualified to be the President’s nominee for Kelaniya,with many infamous heroic feats. The first was his attack on the public rally that was organisedin Nugegoda on 08 January 2007 to urge for a political solution to the ethnic issue. His rowdytantrums thrown at the SL Rupavahini Corporation for not airing his lewd speech attackingMangala Samaraweera at the opening of the Matara new bridge, is public knowledge. Thereafterhis many “heroic” deeds like attacks on Sirasa TV station and its media persons, roping aSamurdhi officer to a tree as punishment, gave him a competitive advantage in getting perks,privileges and promotions.