The plantation companies are expected to submit their alternative proposal for consideration by the Government, which has announced a wage hike for estate workers from 1 March.
The Daily FT learns that the alternative model will be a productivity-based wage system through which, if accepted, workers could enjoy a higher pay that the Government has proposed. A fortnight ago President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fulfilling an election promise, said estate workers’ daily wage will be increased by Rs. 145, or 17%, to Rs. 1,000 in March from Rs. 855 at present.
The plantation companies, via the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC), originally said they don’t have the financial capacity to do so with dwindling tea prices and rising costs of production.
The President’s announcement also came whilst a collective agreement between EFC and trade unions was in force.
However, following clarification by the Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and Plantation Industries Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana at separate meetings last week, the private sector agreed to go back and come up with an alternative proposal whilst meeting work interests as well as safeguarding the financial situations of the plantation companies.