Sri Lanka’s planters push for outgrower model as wage deadline looms

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Regional Plantation Companies are pushing for a new outgrower model, as a deadline on wage negotiations for a collective agreement with trade unions looms, the Planters’ Association chief said.

The current collective agreement on wages is set to expire in October, Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde said.

"We are in the process of negotiating with the trade unions the revision of wages for the fresh collective agreement," he said.

"In my view the current model cannot be sustained long term and the time has come to look at a different model based on productivity and a share of revenue."

Nearly one million Sri Lankans reside in tea estate land, where 250,000 work.

Poholiyadde said trade unions had agreed for a productivity based wage structure at the last revision and to explore a revenue share model which is required for the industry’s sustainability.

An outgrower model is desired, he said.

"World over they give the nucleus to companies which can invest, and 20 to 30 percent of land is given to outgrowers, for which financing is given by nucleus," he said. (Colombo/Oct03/2018

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