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Sri Lanka plantations say unable to continue to justify large losses to shareholders

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan plantation companies said they cannot justify large loses to shareholders and remain in business if worker labour unions do not sign a new productivity-linked wage deal agreed upon with government mediation.

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon, representing Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), said that continuing to resist the revision of the present archaic attendance-based wage as losses increase, without any other viable alternative, is putting the industry in peril.

“At the request of the government and considering the aspirations of the workers, the RPCs provided a daily interim allowance of Rs100 to their workers for June and July 2016 despite being under significant financial pressure, by utilising loans of Rs800 million provided by state banks via the Tea Board,” a statement said.

“The interim allowance was paid for the two months based on the written understanding reached between the RPCs, the government and the trade unions that a productivity-based Collective Agreement will be signed prior to the payment of wages for August 2016.”

Such an agreement “is essential to the put the industry on a more sustainable footing,” the RPCs have pointed out, saying that “they cannot continue to be in business and sustain the large population residing in RPC plantations with the current state of the industry.”

The RPCs said that by continuing to “reject the ground reality by postponing the much-needed revision of the wage structure, the industry is being put in a perilous situation – with RPCs unable to continue to justify large and further accumulating losses to their shareholders”.
(COLOMBO, August 23, 2016)

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