The Rs.1,000 minimum daily wage for tea and rubber plantation workers has come into effect from the fifth of this month, the Labour Ministry announced yesterday.
The Wages Boards for the Tea and Rubber Growing and Manufacturing Trade last month voted for the plantation union-backed proposal to more than double the minimum wage of the industry workers to Rs.1,000 by a majority vote, despite the objections of planters, private sector tea factory owners and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.
Consequently, the decisions of the two wages boards were sent to publish on the government gazette last week, following the approval of Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The new minimum daily wage has been set for Rs.900, with a budgetary relief allowance of Rs.100 for both tea and rubber plantation workers, with effect from the fifth of this month, according to the extraordinary gazette notification went live yesterday.
Issuing a press release, de Silva yesterday said that he was forced to resort to the wages boards to implement the Rs.1,000, which was proposed in the budget 2021, as the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and plantation sector trade unions failed to reach a consensus to implement the wage hike through the collective bargaining process.
Although the Rs.1,000 daily wage hike was targeted at the workers in the RPCs in the up-country, the wages boards’ decision is set to cover the whole value chain from plantations to manufacturing.
The RPCs are expecting to incur additional Rs.15 billion in expenses due to the wage increase, while the private sector tea factories are yet to assess the impact on their operations. (NF)