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IndustriALL affiliates make appeal to cancel Sri Lanka’s debt

IndustriALL affiliates in Sri Lanka are demanding that the island's debts are canceled. 

IndustriALL is a global union representing 50 million workers across 140 countries in mining, manufacturing, and energy sectors. 

Recently, Sri Lankan IndustriALL affiliates echoed the calls of over 180 economists and development experts to cancel Sri Lanka's debt.

The affiliates are demanding that "bilateral, multilateral and private lenders share the burden of restructuring as the country cannot ensure this on its own and requires larger international support and solidarity."

The joint secretary of IndustriALL affiliate Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union, Anton Marcus, said:

"Sri Lanka needs immediate relief from the external debt crisis. IMF must reach out to the lenders and create a responsible forum to help the country. The working class in Sri Lanka is in a pitiable state. Unfortunately, the government has failed to provide any relief to the poor in the 2023 budget."

During a solidarity meeting organized by IndustriALL, affiliates shared concerns regarding the growth in poverty and the increase in malnutrition among children. 

The affiliates' demands to the government include:

- Immediately withdraw indirect and direct taxes on all essential food items 

- Halt tariff increases immediately on power and energy

- Establish a national tri-partite council for economic reforms

IndustriALL assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, stated:

"IndustriALL stands firmly with affiliates in Sri Lanka and fully support their demands. It is time for the international community to show its support by cancelling debts for a country where workers cannot afford two meals a day as the spiralling cost of living weighs heavily on them."

Read more here 

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