A crisis is looming in the tea industry with plantation companies considering various options after being forced to agree to a Rs. 1,000 daily wage.
The Daily Mirror learns that plantation companies are considering multiple options including legal action after the Wages Board decided to grant Rs. 1,000 as a daily wage to estate workers. When contacted by the Daily Mirror, planters’ association (PA) Media Spokesperson Dr. Roshan Rajadurai refused to confirm reports that legal action is being sought.
However, he said a number of options are being looked into as the tea industry is likely to collapse following the decision taken by the authorities. “we have been sliding down to oblivion, this will only accelerate the process,” Rajadurai said. rajadurai insisted that plantation companies are running at a loss and they will be compelled to implement drastic cuts. He said that tea production will most likely be reduced and eventually the quality of the tea will also be affected. “with this situation we won’t be able to afford to do anything. If anyone can say they can pay Rs. 1000 they must demonstrate how they will do it.we don’t have the capacity to do this, ”he said.
Plantation companies had earlier proposed a productivity based wage model to resolve the daily wage issue. However, following pressure from trade unions and politicians the government decided to force the plantation companies to pay Rs. 1000 as a daily wage. The matter was taken to the Wages Board and despite objections raised, it was decided to enforce the Rs.1000 daily wage. Rajadurai said that with the issue now being taken over by the Wages Board some plantation companies have given notice of their intention to withdraw from the collective agreement between the companies and trade unions. Over the years the daily wage of estate workers was based on the collective agreement.(EASWARAN RUTNAM)