Sri Lanka plantations industry in deal with unions on wages

June 06, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s regional plantations companies and estate labour unions have agreed to renew a two-year wage deal with a worker’s basic wage being raised to 380 rupees from 285 previously. Muthu Sivalingam, president of the Ceylon Workers Congress, the biggest union, told Vimasuma.com, our sister news website, that under the deal, signed Monday afternoon, a worker’s total daily wage would rise to 515 rupees from 405 rupees previously.

The agreement is between the Employers Federation of Ceylon, representing 22 regional plantation companies, and three unions representing workers on the island’s tea and rubber estates.

Kanishka Weerasinghe, deputy director general of the EFC, said the two sides had also agreed on other payments including a fixed price share supplement of 30 rupees and an attendance bonus of 105 rupees.

The last collective wage agreement expired in March 2011 and its renewal was crucial with wages accounting for about 60 percent of production costs.

Sri Lanka’s tea industry is said to have the highest production costs among top tea exporters.