Fresh meeting scheduled for March to hear objections filed by RPCs
Gazette cannot be issued until due process completed
Years-long tripartite talks over the Rs. 1,000 daily wage for the plantations sector will drag into March after there were inadequate members to form a quorum at the Wages Board meeting yesterday to hear objections raised by Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), a top official said yesterday.
Labour Commissioner General Prabath Chandrakeerthi told the Daily FT that a quorum of five people are needed to make a Wages Board meeting valid. However, while there were two representatives from the trade unions and one person from the Labour Ministry, there was one person short from the RPC side.
“It is mandatory that at least two RPC representatives are present at the Wages Board meeting. Only one showed up. Therefore, we had no choice but to postpone the hearing of objections till 1 March,” the Commissioner General said.
Chandrakeerthi said Wages Board provisions would dictate how the process would proceed beyond the next meeting but confirmed that the much-awaited Gazette on the daily wage cannot be issued until due process is completed.
RPCs, factory owners and small-holders had filed dozens of objections after the Wages Board decided to give a Rs. 1,000 daily wage to plantation workers earlier this month. It came after a hung vote of 11 for and nine against. Under the Wages Board Ordinance, objections can be filed against the decision, which also have to be taken up and discussed by the Board.
RPCs and trade unions have been at loggerheads for about two years over the daily wage issue, with the former insisting it cannot afford the hike, while the latter have insisted that Rs. 1,000 per day is a fair living wage. The Government last year backed the unions by including the daily wage as a proposal in Budget 2021. (UJ)
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