Plantation workers’ strike continues | Sunday Observer

Plantation workers’ strike continues

The plantation workers’ strike that continued for the fifth successive day yesterday, with no signs of a compromise on the basic wage demand was termed as ‘untimely’ by important stakeholders, including two of the three major trade unions with considerable membership.

The strike was called by Arumugan Thondaman MP, leader of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), one of the three signatory-unions to the biennial Collective Agreement (CA) on the revision of wages for the workers with the Regional Plantation Companies (RPC). The other two unions that are signatories to the CA – the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers’ Union (LJEWU) and the Joint Plantation Trade Union Centre (JPTUC) have said that the TU action that was launched summarily without consultations with them nor considering the financial straits and problems of the workers in the weeks preceding the New Year.

JPTUC General Secretary, S.Ramanathan, told the Sunday Observer that when repeated talks with the RPCs on the wage increase of Rs.1,000 failed, they wanted the issue to be handled by the Prime Minister and the line ministry at an appropriate time in the future.

They never wanted a strike now because it will continue indefinitely with impacts on the workers and the industry.

LJEWU General Secretary, Vadivel Suresh MP together with P.Thigambaram MP, leader of the National Union of Workers (NUW), and V. Radhakrishnan MP, leader of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF), told a joint media conference in Colombo last week that the current situation in the country is not suitable for a workers’ strike or interventions/negotiations by the Government on behalf of the workers.

They have said that they are against using the workers’ issue for political reasons.

Workers belonging to some of the unions that are not a party to the decision on TU action are reporting for work, according to reports from the plantation areas. 

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