Sri Lanka cabinet mandates Rs1000 plantation wages through control board
ECONOMYNEXT – Wages for workers in Sri Lanka’s commercial tea and rubber plantation companies will go to a state wage control board, the state information said after negotiations for productivity based remuneration scheme failed amid a political decision.
The budget for 2021 had proposed a 1,000 rupees a day wage for plantations workers, but negotiations between the Employers Federation representing private plantations companies had failed.
The firms had proposed increasing the wage up to 920 rupees.
“Considering this fact, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the resolution furnished by the Minister of Labour for taking the necessary steps to escalate the employee wages of the estate sector up to Rs 1,000 across wages controls board so that the budget proposal could be implemented,” the statement said
The renewal of a collective agreement between the plantations companies and unions were to run from 2019 to 2021, however the political statement on wages came before the negotiations were due to start.
Plantations workers form a large voting block.
During the last administration an existing productivity based system was changed with politicians getting involved. However, a temporary wage supplement was given with state funds, without expropriating the property of plantations firms.
Analysts had warned that expropriation and undermining property rights is harmful to the long – term growth of the country.
The plantations were originally expropriated from British and domestic owners, as part of moves that eventually made Sri Lanka a lagging country in Asia. (Colombo/Jan27/2021)