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Employers urge to extend existing plantation’s collective wage agreement

12 November 2015 03:02 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As matters have moved from bad to worse for the plantation sector, employers have urged the government to intervene and extend the existing collective wage agreement for the next 12 months, which would provide the much-wanted relief for the dampening industry.

“Where the regional plantation companies are concerned we have categorically stated that with the current commodity prices, for both tea and rubber, in no way can we consider in increasing the wages. It will be a relief if the existing agreement can be extended for the next 12 months,” said Planters’ Association of Ceylon Deputy Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde to Mirror Business. The employers of the plantation sector together with the trade unions met with the Labour Commissioner and other relevant government authorities over the past two weeks but no consensus has been reached as yet.

While the employers have proposed to extend the current agreement, the trade unions have yet to agree with the same.

“They (trade unions) also understand the situation we are faced with. There is no other option other than continuing the same. We have requested the Labour Ministry to intervene and get the unions to agree.  They have made note of our request,” added Poholiyadde.

Noting the plantation sector is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the Employer’s Federation of Ceylon Director General/Chief Executive Officer Kanishka Weerasinghe opined the proposed solution “would be good for the industry”.

“There doesn’t seem to be any improvement in the short term. While there are a number of ways to move forward, temporarily this seems to be a viable solution,” he said sharing his views.

The plantation sector collective wage agreement has been inked since 1992. During every revision that takes place every two years a wage increase has been accommodated. Year 2015 is the first time ever the employers have expressed reluctance in considering an increase, which is due to the industry witnessing dampened growth in ever sphere.

The collective agreement that expired on March 31, 2015 should have been renewed on April 1. Employers and trade unions failing to come to an agreement has led to the delay.
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