Plantation TUs resume talks | Sunday Observer

Plantation TUs resume talks

The plantation workers’ strike on their Rs.1000 basic wage demand was discontinued on the request of TU leaders in November. Talks are to commence in the first week of January 2019, TU sources told the Sunday Observer.

On the directions of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the three major trade unions that are signatories to the biennial Collective Agreement (CA) on wage increase are to meet Labour, Trade Union Relations and Social Empowerment Minister Daya Gamage on January 3, 2019 followed by discussions with the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) representing the 22 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), spokesman to the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers’ Union (LJEWU) S.P.Vijeyakumaran, told the Sunday Observer. State Minister of Plantation Industries Vadivel Suresh is the General Secretary of the pro-UNP union, the LJEWU.

The other two unions are the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) led by Arumugan Thondaman MP and the Joint Plantation Trade Union Centre (JPTUC) led by S.Ramanathan.

The last CA expired on October 15, 2018 when the workers launched a token strike insisting on their Rs.1,000 basic wage which was joined by human rights organisations and other concerned groups through protests in Colombo, the Northern province and other parts of the country.

The RPCs at their last round of talks with the plantation TUs offered to raise the basic wage of workers to Rs.600 with conditional payments such as productivity incentive (Rs.140), attendance bonus (Rs.80) and price share supplement (Rs.30) to take the maximum daily wage to a ceiling of Rs.850 which the TUs rejected. The basic wage was Rs.500 with the conditional payments of productivity incentive (Rs.140), attendance bonus (Rs.60) and price share supplement (Rs.30) offering a maximum daily wage to a ceiling of Rs.730 under the last CA.

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