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Sri Lanka: Alton Tea Estate Action Committee demands release and reinstatement of workers allegedly dismissed and arrested following strike demanding better pay

“Sri Lanka: Alton workers’ action committee defends victimised colleagues”, 03 May 2021

The Action Committee of Alton Estate Workers (ACAEW) passed a resolution last week appealing to workers and youth throughout Sri Lanka and internationally to support its fight…

On March 22, the Horana Plantation Company sacked 38 workers at its Alton Estate … The workers were falsely accused of assaulting the manager and assistant manager at the estate.

Twenty-four workers and two youth have also been arrested and charged over the same allegations and now face trial. The victims have all vehemently denied the accusations.

The case was listed for hearing before Hatton magistrate on April 28 but postponed until July 14. A lawyer appearing for the company told the court that more “suspects” had to be arrested but did not provide any details.

The resolution demands the unconditional reinstatement of all victimised workers, along with the release of, and dropping of charges against, all the estate workers.

The resolution rejects the bogus charges against the Alton workers and insists that this anti-democratic attack…

One worker said, “... All the unions have completely abandoned us and we also have to pay the cost of the court cases.”

Alton workers, he added, participated in the [Ceylon Workers Congress’] one-day strike … for a 1,000-rupee daily wage for plantation workers, but continued their industrial action … against ongoing management harassment. When the police arrested strikers, he said, the CWC did not provide any assistance but instead, helped the police to detain the workers.

The witch-hunt of the Alton Estate workers is part of an escalating assault on all plantation workers and a warning to every other section of the Sri Lankan working class of the attacks by government and big business on wages, living conditions and jobs..