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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2676

Ministry of Plantation decided tp pay long delayed EPF dues.

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 17 May, ( The Ministry of Plantation Industries decided to pay long delayed Employee’s Provident Fund [EPF] and the Employee’s Trust Fund [ETF] contributions of the workers attached to the Sri Lanka State Plantation Corporation [ SLSPC ]and the Jantha Estate Development Board [JEDB].

The Ministry also promised to issue ‘a give a priority order’ to pay long delayed gratuities of the retired workers in the both institutions.

Minister Milroy Fernando said that his ministry would pay a special attention to government owned estates, when he met the officials of the trade unions at his Ministry on Tuesday.

The trade unions said that the both intuitions did not pay Employee’s Provident Fund [EPF] and the Employee’s Trust Fund [ETF] contributions since 2001.

According to the JEDB and the SLSPC sources, around 900 million rupees are still remaining as arrears as EPF and ETF dues to the retired workers.

Minister Milroy Fernando has also assured to solve some burning issues of the estate workers attached to the JEDB and the SLSPC.

However workers of all the JEDB and the SLSPC estates are now on strike to win their demands such as EPF and ETF arrears, lack of job security and lack of equal benefits, same as the staff of the JEDB and the SLSPC.

According to the Ceylon Estate Staffs Union, the wages of the workers had not been increased and those who had retired at 55 years had not been paid their gratuity.

“Some of retired workers were dead, but the authorities are still not paid their gratuity and other allowances,” said a union official.

At present, the Department of Labor has filed a number of court cases against both intuitions due to the non-payment of ETF and EPF since year 2001.

Sandya Rajapaksha , Chairman of the JEDB said that the JEDB and the SLSPC face bad financial losses due to the mismanagement and also tor several other reasons.

“We have to pay attention to repair factories, maintain vehicles, workers quarters and several other issues. However the government of Sri Lanka will never privatize government owned estates,” he assured.

The Minister also said that the Department of Labor and the Ministry of Plantation would find a final solution to end the non-payment of EPF contributions. At present the both institutions are on a lengthy discussion to settle the prevailing labor cases.

Speaking to the media trade union officials said the Ceylon Estate Staffs Union would meet their members to end the prevailing strike.

- Asian Tribune -

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