- Unions are requesting an increase of Rs. 1,500 given the higher cost of living
- Complains some plantations still failing to pay mandated wage of Rs. 1,000
- Requests convening of Wages Board to address the issue
By Parameswaran Wigneshwaran
In a bid to address the growing concern over wage disparities and the rising cost of living, estate-based trade unions are now demanding an increase in the daily wage of plantation workers. Accordingly, the unions are demanding the workers be paid a minimum wage of Rs. 2500.
The call comes after a three-year struggle to enforce the previous Gazette notification, which set the daily minimum wage at Rs 1000. However, certain plantation companies have continued to flout the order, leaving workers in a precarious financial situation.
Speaking to the Daily FT, Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU) General Secretary MP Vadivel Suresh said unions have formally requested the convening of the wages board to address the pressing issue. “It has been three years since the daily salary was increased to Rs. 1000. However, some plantation companies are still violating the order, which has caused immense financial strain on workers. The living expenses of the people have increased significantly during this time,” he added.
Highlighting the need to adjust wages according to the rising cost of living, the MP said plantation workers require at least Rs. 3250 to meet their daily expenses. “However, taking into account the circumstances faced by the plantation companies, we are requesting a minimum daily wage of Rs. 2500,” he said.
Suresh said he has already met with Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara to discuss the matter and has received assurances of prompt action.
General Secretary of the Ceylon Workers Congress, Minister Jeevan Thondaman also echoed Suresh’s sentiments. Thondaman said he supports their demands for an increase and emphasised the importance of reaching a joint decision through the wages board promptly.