Estate crisis: If TUs, employers fail to agree:
Govt to intervene
Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament
yesterday the Government will intervene to sort out the crisis in the
estate sector, if Trade Unions and plantation companies fail to reach an
agreement on the pay hike issue of plantation workers.
The Minister said: “The Government should be fair to both parties.
When initiatives are taken to safeguard the workers’ rights, measures
should also be taken to safeguard plantation companies”. The Minister
was responding to a special statement made by Chief Opposition Whip
Joseph Michael Perera about the go-slow by plantation workers who are
demanding an increase in their daily wage from the present rate of Rs.
290 to Rs. 500.
Minister Jayaratne said the estate workers’ pay hike issue should be
considered as a key factor which affects the national economy.
“Therefore this issue should not be politicised”, he said.
“No Government has fulfilled this kind of immense work for plantation
workers’ wellbeing. The Government is committed to resolve estate
workers’ pay hike issue. But we cannot allow to destroy plantation
companies as well.
The Government should take measures to safeguard both sectors”, the
Minister said. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said estate
workers should also get a better pay hike in keeping with the increase
of the Cost of Living.
Estate workers get the lowest salary in the Sri Lankan Work Force, he
JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the present daily wage of the
estate workers is decided based on a method formulated by a collective
agreement between the employers and workers.
The Government should immediately intervene to sort out this crisis.
MP Mano Ganeshan said plantation workers are in dire economic need for a
pay hike and the Government should ensure they are given their due.
Justice and Law Reforms Deputy Minister V. Puththirasigamoney said
some political parties attempt to fish in the troubled waters to
increase their number of members by politicising this issue.
“There is no impasse or dead lock in talks between the employers and
Trade Unions should be given ample time to talk and gain their right.
If they fail to do so, the Government should intervene in this issue”,