The month-long struggle by tea plantation workers ended today with planters unions and Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) agreeing to increase the daily basic wage of plantation workers to Rs.700 from the earlier Rs.500.
However, the workers were demanding a basic salary of Rs.1,000.
Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake, who was at the meeting held with the plantation industry stakeholders, termed the new agreement as a breakthrough which would ensure the stability of the tea industry.
“The workers unions and RPCs agreed to increase the daily basic wage from Rs.500 to Rs.700, excluding other payments and incentives. They also agreed to increase the Price Share Supplement (PSS) from Rs.30 to Rs.50. With ETF and EPF payments, the daily wage will come to about Rs.850,” he told the Daily Mirror.
The Minister said the Plantation Industries Ministry will join the Tea Board Fund to settle the arrears amounting to some Rs.100 million.
“That was the deal we were able to negotiate. Rs.100 million from the Tea Fund will to be given to settle arrears. I can justify this decision because the tea industry needs stability which is not possible if strikes continue. So I made a decision on that and then the Unions and Companies also agreed,” he said.
The Minister said they hoped to sign the new agreement on Monday, providing for the increased wages for plantation workers. (Lahiru Pothmulla)