ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) will request Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara to summon the Wages Board for an increase in tea and rubber plantation wages to reflect increased cost of living, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman said.
Thondaman tweeted Thursday February 09 morning that multiple efforts have been made to enter into a collective agreement with regional plantation companies (RPCs) but neither they nor the employers’ federation reciprocated their intent to enter into a productivity or attendance based wage scheme.
“Therefore, with the rise in cost of living, a fair wage must be sought with government intervention, i.e Wages Board,” said Thondaman.
In a related development, the newly sworn in cabinet minister met US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung on Wednesday. The duo has discussed “ways to expand economic opportunities for Hill Country Tamils and steps the government is taking to address their needs.”
Supporting the rights of minority communities to reach their full potential is vital for any democracy. I met w Minister @JeevanThondaman to discuss ways to expand economic opportunities for Hill Country Tamils and steps the govt is taking to address their needs. pic.twitter.com/5LvPBe8oIw
— Ambassador Julie Chung (@USAmbSL) February 8, 2023
Sri Lanka’s commercial tea and rubber plantations in September called for a wage model in the style of small holders moving away from the fixed rates that is reducing output and worker earnings as collapse of the rupee slashes real wages.
Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered 1,000 rupees a day wage to workers who already have a collective agreement as part of promises made in the run up to the 2020 elections in a series of state interventions including a fertilizer ban.
Small holder farms have of late been practising a model where a group of workers have responsibility over a farm who are paid according to the volumes they pluck and also keep owners informed of the need for fertilizer and other inputs to boost leaf growth.
Some plantations companies have also tested other wage models. Until the flat rates was re-introduced by manifesto a partial productivity based model was in place.
Instead of a daily wage pay on kg basis . They can earn more.