ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka’s Talawakelle Tea Estates has begun trials on a new revenue sharing model with workers on estates in an effort to raise productivity.
“Under this model, we propose to assign some of the estate lands to high achiever workers and they in turn, as block managers, will be responsible for field work including planting and harvesting,” Talawakelle Tea Estates managing director Roshan Rajadurai said.
The company will supervise and support these workers to see that they adhere to good agricultural practices and work ethics to ensure sustainability of tea fields and maintain leaf quality.
“This we believe, is a ‘win-win’ situation for us, as a plantation organisation, where we could drive for greater productivity, secure better yields and increase profitability,” Rajadurai said.
It would also benefit estate workers, where “they could develop their self-worth, be in control of their work life and optimise their earning capacity,” he told shareholders in the company’s latest annual report.
Rajadurai said Talawakelle Tea Estates has introduced the new work model as pilot initiatives in two of the firm’s estates, Somerset in the high grown and Deniyaya in the low grown region.
Talawakelle Tea Estates has given out 207.3 hectares of land in total to 605 of its most productive workers along with the necessary support for the transition.
Talawakelle Tea Estates chairman Mohan Pandithage they were concerned about the shortage of workers and labour unions moving away from a productivity-linked wage structure at the recently signed Collective Agreement on wages.
“Our response to this challenge is to promote and encourage a revenue share model of remuneration; where the workers see themselves more as partners rather than wage-earners,” he said.