A crucial meeting between the Ministry of Plantations and regional plantation company (RPC) owners regarding the long-running dispute over the daily wage of plantation sector workers will be held today (17), The Morning learnt.
Media Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Samantha Gunasekera told yesterday (16) that the proposed increase of the daily wage to Rs. 1,000 for plantation workers will be discussed with RPC owners today.
Speaking to The Morning on Monday (14), Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) Chairman Bhathiya Bulumulla said the Government has indicated a middle point with the RPCs’ representative body as it aspires to implement a productivity-based model. A daily wage of Rs. 1,000 would result in a cost of approximately Rs. 21 billion for the industry, he added.
However, when contacted yesterday, State Minister of Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Jeewan Thondaman told The Morning that discussions between RPCs and plantation worker trade unions have been proceeding at a snail’s pace due to the Covid-19 disruptions, but that currently the unions are holding talks with individual RPCs.
“Not all RPC owners are in favour of a daily wage of Rs. 1,000, but some are in agreement with it,” he said.
The proposal to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000 was made during the first reading of Budget 2021 on 17 November by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa.
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