Sri Lanka’s Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) are scheduled to submit a new wage model to Secretary to President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera today, to facilitate the state-mandated wage hike for plantation workers from March 1.
The industry sources said the RPCs would propose a productivity-based wage model for plantation workers, which would enable them to earn Rs.1000 or above per day. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa directed the RPCs to raise the minimum daily wage of plantation workers from Rs.855 to Rs.1,000, from March onwards.
The industry anticipates that the proposed model would create a ‘win-win’ situation for both the RPCs and plantation workers as it would boost the productivity levels of the RPCs while enhancing the earnings of the workers.
The majority of RPCs are currently loss-making except for a handful of RPCs, such as Kegalle Plantations, Elpitiya Plantations, Namunukula Plantations, Talawakelle Plantations and Watawala Plantations.
Low tea auction prices, changing weather patterns, dwindling yields and ad hoc state policies are blamed for the current state of the RPCs.
Without such a productivity-based wage model, the RPCs estimate the wage hike would cost them Rs.12-14 billion, including the gratuity payments.