May Day……..May Day…………..Industry is in a peril  …….
Posted on April 30th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Recent news item carried  in the national papers ,Chamber of Construction Industry has been lamenting about the future of the Industry .The Industry I am personally involved is also facing severe drawback due to lack of skilled and unskilled labour in Sri Lanka

Do you know that the largest ship builder in Sri Lanka has imported to reasonably priced work force of about 300 welders and fitters from India.

Construction of towers like Altair and Shangrila are supported by cheap Indian Labour in Sri Lanka

These workers coming under some Scarc country-loophole, work in these projects  for few months living a simple un-extravagant life  ( They consume a simple meal and work hard during the short period and I personally prefer to employ them to achieve targets )

Up country youths coming to Colombo looking for greener pastures are also swarming Colombo and the quantities not enough and they do not like work in construction Industry but prefer to work in less tenuous Grocery Shops and Bakeries

Other youngsters are looking for jobs in driving three wheelers ,peddling vice and drugs in the city are not contributing to the construction Industry

One social worker claimed that Three wheeler drives have also become a problem to peaceful family life of many families due to their nefarious activities , Sad to say that these drivers have disturbed family life in many instances

Government is unable to do anything to make them productive due to fear of losing about 1.5 million votes

Unless we do something whole construction industry and ship building Industry which will be booming under the new policies of the government and the development of Magapolis in Western area will suffer in time to come

We all know that ETCA with free movement of labour from India and if possible from Bangladesh can definitely benefit the country by taking the development forward .

What we have to do is maintain a strict  program  in monitoring their stay in Sri Lanka and hold the industrialists responsible for their repatriation like in Middle East

We have to seriously think about the problem and take urgent action to solve the labour problem

Otherwise our Development-Ship will sink in rough seas ahead ……


6 Responses to “May Day……..May Day…………..Industry is in a peril  …….”

  1. Cerberus Says:

    Bringing cheap labor in to the country is easy. The hard part is to get them out. During the thirty year war it is estimated that about 1 million illegals came in to Sri Lanka. Even Prabahakaran stated that 35% of his fighters were from South India. We already have about 60,000 Indian workers registered. Who is policing them and ensuring they leave. USA has the same problem with Mexicans. The Corporations want them to come in so that they can get cheap labor. However they do not want to leave. Once they have children in the country they do not want to leave and it creates a big problem. In a small country like Sri Lanka this type of short sighted action is what lead to the Tamil call for Eelam.

  2. aloy Says:

    Dr. Sarath,
    It is actually a ‘May Day’ for our country. What do we need?. The country or the so called development. Industrialist don’t see the danger, they see only the profits that they could repatriate to tax havens ultimately. Politicians don’t see it as they are only interested in the minorities votes. They don’t give a damn to the country. I have showed mathematically couple of years ago that the present majority would become a minority in about 60 years time according to current rate of change of demographics.
    As Cerberus says above it is very easy to get foreigners as cheap labour but is extremely difficult to send them back. SL is very attractive to other south asians. We have read in news papers that asians speaking neither tamil or sinhala are living in some housing schemes funded by other countries. These are signs that some thing inimical is happening. We used to read in news papers about thirty years ago that some men in military uniforms roaming jungle areas. Then we heard sinhala people were being hacked to death in border villagers, yet the government then did not take action as they were afraid of India. Are we coming to a similar situation. Huge housing schemes are being planned in the north and the east in addition to the central hills by India. I am sure in the time of next generation match will be over for Sinhalese. Even now they are being advised to leave the country as the politicians are mismanaging the country.
    I would rather ask GOSL not to plan for megapolis etc. and other development if they cannot find local labour. It is better to safeguard the country first.

  3. Dham Says:

    Priyan Dias ( a Don (juan ?) at Moratuwa Uni) headed team has had a review of those Indian “tin houses”.
    You can read it here. Very basic report of not much technical value and poor in investigative content.

    Reading is comments on structural aspects, it appears like both walls and roof have been made from insulated panels. Thinnest of these are in the order of 100 mm and can span 3.5m easily. What is surprising to me is Priyan appears to be not aware of this technology existing for more than 20 years. He is complaining about 150mm thick slabs but 100 thick slabs are common all over the world , for housing. No mentioning about a surrounding beam of strip to prevent loosing founding material, but again, if the material is road base or something it should be OK. Priyan appears to be working for Vigneshwaran, I remember he wrote some nonsense about North and East can be separated from the rest of Sri Lanka by a “movement” joint. Reading that article too I noticed his lack of subject knowledge.

  4. mario_perera Says:

    The name MAY DAY given to the 1st of May has totally lost its sense.Itis a total MISNOMER.

    The real appellation for the 1st of May should be MAY-HEM DAY.

    What a damned shame that MAY-HEM day should herald the glorious month that commemorates the Birth, the Enlightenment and the Parinibbana of the Lord, whose Land of Predilection that country is said to be.

    There is nothing in this country that makes it ‘particularly’ Buddhist. The gulf between mind and thought, and thought and action has floundered below rock bottom level. Buddhism is a sheer cover for human wickedness. Indeed the words of Bishop Hebert clamour for attention: Ceylon – a country where ‘every prospect pleases: only man is VILE’.

    It will be remembered what the infamous S.J.Emmanuel said about Tamil-ness. For the Tamil Tamil-ness comes before religion. Not so for the genuine Sinhalese for whom Sinhala-ness is intrinsically is linked to Buddhism. The saintly Fr.Marceline Jayakody even said: before we were Christian, we were Buddhists.

    Now all that must be considered as having being jettisoned.Watching the turn this country has taken it would be a shame to link sinhala-ness to Buddhism. Gone are those days. This country has long since become the realm of MaRa.The Sinhalese has lost every sense of Values, the greatest of which derive from his historical and traditional religion. In short no Buddhism-no Sinhalese. The Sinhalese now derive their Sinhala-ness from the dance of the daughters of Mara.

    It is high time we stop blaming the Tamils for our woes. They are all united. For them the motto is: united we stand. For the Sinhalese the motto has always been: Divided we Fall. thus not only are they falling, but so have they fallen. the greatest strength the Sinhalese have shown is in their divisions. divide et Impera was not introduced by foreign powers, but by our own. At the time of the arrival of the first colonial power, the country was divided into no less than 4 kingdoms. the Portuguese did not force themselves into the country. they came as INVITEES. So did the Dutch, and so did the British. The greatest hallmark of the Sinhalese has been its inherent division.

    It is this quality that predominates on May 1, the day of MAY-HEM.

    Mario Perera

  5. aloy Says:

    I am not painting the dooms day scenario. But we must look at what is happening. There are three musketeers who have taken over the finances of our country two of them appearing from out of the blue. And suddenly we hear about these mega housing schemes for resettlement of war affected. If they are Sri Lankans I have no issue. But there are allegations that a goof part of those in refugee camps were the Indians brought in by Velu for his fighting force. Even some military officers have expressed doubts as to whether they all are Sri lankans. I think the defence chiefs should be given sufficient time to comprehend what the hell is going on in the North and the east. Until that happens all these resettlement business should be put on hold. If it goes ahead after that they should take action not to allow enclaves to be created. Just like in Singapore GOSL should carefully mix up the ratio to reflect ethnic composition of the country so that separatism ideas would be defeated at the outset.
    Regarding the ‘Don Juan’ in the assessment team, I do not think we should jump to conclusions just yet. Moratuwa and Pera Uni are highly respected places and I am sure they must have selected the team with lot of deliberations. If what comes out is a useless report it reflect the quality of that institution as well. We have to manage with what we have.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Agree with Cerberus & Aloy.
    Unfortunately, if labor is brought from abroad, not only will they settled down for good in Lanka, they will also bring with them their neighboring home country problems. See the bad baggage from Tamil Nadu and the high price Lankans pay for that. Lanka has ended up shouldering the blame for the Caste/poverty faults of the Tamil home sub-state, Tamil
    Nadu, at international level too !


    If Sri Lanka does not have enough Skilled Labor, then it is time to ensure Skilled Labor from local folk.
    Something must be wrong in our Education System if Lanka cannot provide enough Skilled Labor for local needs. We have a so called Free Education System. Why not use some of that money to provide Skilled Labor locally ? Lanka does not have enough Tech Colleges. There ought to be a Tech College attached to every Maha Vidyalaya in the country.

    Likely some of the Skilled Labor in Lanka go to the Middle East to earn more money there.

    As for Unskilled Labor, youth ought to be given proper physical training too in schools and also through the Baladakshas (Scouts & Girl Guides) and the Army. Earlier, Gota had a scheme to get rural folk physically fit through his Leadership Training Prog. Knowledgeable people can contribute ideas on this aspect.

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