CWC hopeful of wage hike | Sunday Observer

CWC hopeful of wage hike

Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Trade Union Advisor Muthusivalingam said the outcome of the discussions on the plantation workers wage hike will be fruitful with a solution to the current political impasse within weeks.

“We are confident that there will be a positive outcome from the negotiation with the plantation companies with a reasonable increase in the basic wage of workers,” Muthusivalingam said.

Discussions between the plantation unions and Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) over the daily wage of workers has come to a standstill with both parties sticking to their guns.

“We have held discussions with all the stakeholders on several rounds, but failed to reach an agreement. However, trade unions are confident their demand will be met,” Muthusivalingam said. The Collective Agreement that binds Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) to a basic daily wage of workers for a two-year period expired in October.

However, there has not been a breakthrough in the negotiations between RPCs and Plantation Unions which demand an increase in the daily wage of workers upto Rs. 1,000.

Plantation Trade Union representatives said the unions were compelled to make such a demand from companies as the cost of living had sky rocketed in the recent months making life hard for workers.

“We have made it clear that the daily wage of workers should be raised to a reasonable level given the financial difficulties workers are faced with,” Muthusivalingam said.

However, Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Plantation Services Group Chairman Roshan Rajadurai said RPCs cannot agree to the workers demand as global tea prices have dropped drastically and overheads have increased. He said there has to be a sustainable wage increase model for plantations workers to keep the industry going.

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), the umbrella organisation for the 22 Regional Plantation Companies at a media briefing last month said RPCs were not in a position to grant a basic wage hike of Rs. 1,000 demanded by plantation workers.

Officials of the PA said RPCs had offered the best package for workers whose take home salary when added up with all incentives comes up to Rs. 940. Doubling the basic wage from the current Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 is unaffordable to RPCs who are facing problems from many fronts.