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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2708

Sri Lankan estate unions and employers collision course?

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 03 August, ( The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) will reject a proposal by the estate sector unions for a Rs. 95/- wage hike when negotiations commence between the Federation and the trade unions next month.

A high ranking official attached to a leading plantation company, who is also a member of the EFC said, "Although we have not been informed officially about what their demands are, but paying Rs. 300/- as the daily wage to estate workers inclusive of all taxes and a cost of living allowance, will be a definite 'No No', because paying such an amount is utterly impossible by us," he said.

At a meeting held mid last week at the Devon Hotel in Kandy, estate sector unions had emphasized that due to the ever surging cost of living, at least Rs. 300/- must be paid to them as a daily wage. The unions have also proposed that instead of signing the collective agreement once in two years, the agreement should be signed on an annual basis.

However, the official attached to the plantation company insisted that although a daily wage of Rs. 300/- would be a definite 'no no' the matter could be amicably settled when negotiations begin between the respective groups.

He also informed that each plantation company he been asked to draw up their own proposal which will be taken up when talks begin. The trade unions representing the plantation sector are also currently drafting their own individual demands.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Workers Congress Vice president R. Yogarajan said
that in the past they had demanded a wage hike between the ranges of 22% to 30%, and so they hoped to keep it up.

The all inclusive daily wage paid for a estate worker at present is about Rs. 205/-.

- Asian Tribune -

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