Planters’ Association looks to trade union and worker co-operation to increase productivity and efficiency


Estate Workers

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon states that the latest plantation worker wage increase could ensure a monthly income of at least Rs 15,500/- per person and called for trade union and worker co-operation to increase productivity and efficiency. The daily wage package was increased by 20% from Rs 515/- to Rs 620/-.

The wage increase will cause the cost of production of tea to escalate to its highest levels ever by an increase of Rs 40/- per kilogram effective from 1st April this year. Sri Lanka’s cost of production of tea is the highest in the world.

The Planters' Association that represents the Regional Plantation Companies (RPC’s) who have subscribed to the new wage hike, has called for improved productivity and efficiency, stating them as a ‘must’ to mitigate the wage increase, which would erode profit margins of tea.

Chairman, Planters' Association, Lalith Obeyesekere emphasized the need for highest co-operation from trade unions and workers. “The new wage package could be a win situation for the worker” he noted. “The payment for a minimum 25 days’ work would enable a single worker to earn a minimum of Rs 15,500/- per month. A family of three would have a monthly household income of around Rs 45,000/-. This is in addition to the non-wage benefits of free housing, child care, health and education that are provided to all plantation families.

Obeyesekere went on to add that the RPC’s were unanimous in granting a reasonable wage increase, given the present cost of living. However, he re-iterated that there is a greater need for enhanced productivity particularly in Tea which is the least viable of the main crops in the corporate sector and RPC’s expectations from trade unions and workers were high and worker performance should be at peak levels.

“RPC’s have been struggling with high labour costs with several companies finding the wage revision a challenge to sustain. We look to all stakeholders, workers, trade unions etc to join hands in sustaining the viability of the tea industry” summed up Obeyesekere.


Released in April 2013