Sri Lanka plantations real wage rates stagnant for years

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Octo 15, 2009 (LBO) – Real wage rates earned by Sri Lanka’s plantations workers had been virtually stagnant for years, according to a report by a think tank. The Institute of Policy Studies said in a report on the state of the economy that poverty levels of plantations workers were also high, although there had been some recent improvements.

“In nominal terms, wage rates have been increasing and the earning potential of workers have increased with a wage hike after 2005, for both tea and rubber,” the IPS report said.

This is mainly because in addition to the increasing daily wage rate, workers can earn a price share and an incentive which together decides the total daily wage earned.

Accordingly, by 2007, the total daily wage of a worker was 290 rupees for tea and 260 rupees for rubber.

“However, even with the price share and incentive, the real wage rates have remained relatively constant, with only slight fluctuations,” the IPS report said.

The report showed that since 1980 to 2006 the real wage rates of estate workers had remained almost stagnant.

Plantations workers won another wage hike in September 2009 after union actio