Hopeful of amicable settlement:
Plantation companies unable to meet workers' demand
The plantation companies had a meeting with trade unions yesterday to
discuss the demands made by the estate workers on their day's wage
The estate workers in the tea industry are demanding Rs. 500 a day as
their daily wages and the plantation companies have presented a proposal
to the trade unions for an increase of a day's wage by Rs 40 at the
meeting which was held late evening yesterday said the Plantation
Services Group of the Employers' Federation Chairman Lalith Obeysekera.
Estate workers in the tea industry are demanding Rs. 500 a day as their
However, most of the plantation companies have indicated that it will
not be possible to give such a high salary increase because the cost of
production will go up dramatically.
The profit margin in the sector is very low as a result of high cost
of production, said Secretary General of the Planters' Association of
Ceylon, Malin Goonetileke.
He told Daily News Business that a meeting was scheduled at 11 a.m.
yesterday to discuss these issues but it was later postponed.
At present estate workers are paid Rs.290 per day and they are paid
another Rs 10.95 for an additional kilogramme in excess of the normal
quantity they produced.
The Planters' Association of Ceylon last week alerted the Government
on the negative impact on the country's economy arising from the
disruptions spreading in certain estates caused by estate workers as a
pressure tactic on the ongoing wage negotiations.
This led to acts of sabotage including incidents where workers in
several estates had prevented produce being despatched to buyers from
the estates, disrupted power and water supplies affecting operations and
conducted a go-slow. However, in certain areas work on estates went
smoothly. Goonetileke in a recent statement said that the go slow would
create many problems if the produce already bought by overseas buyers
are not shipped to them in time."
It would affect the country's reputation and will move buyers away to
other tea producing countries.
Director General of The Employers' Federation of Ceylon Ravi Peiris
said he has already written to the Trade Union leaders engaged in the
Collective Agreement negotiations, Commissioner General of Labour and
the Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Industries about the
negative impact such disruptions would have on the estate workers as
well as the economy and image of the country.