Minister green lights productivity-linked wage proposal for RPCs: Unions are still to agree

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Feb 01, 2021 (LBO) – On the request of Labour Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) submitted a revised wage proposal to remunerate workers up to 1108 repees a day. 

The revised proposal was a result of a settlement, negotiated with the assent of the Minister. However, trade unions are still to agree. This resolution will ensure that workers will earn in excess of the Rs. 1,000 demand, and will finally be rewarded for increased productivity.

The Rs. 1108 daily wage is achieved in the following manner: Basic Wage – Rs. 725, Price Share Supplement – Rs. 50, EPF/ETF – Rs. 108 and an Attendance and Productivity Incentive of Rs. 225, which has been reintroduced.

A fixed daily wage model will be applicable for 3 days a week. On the rest of the days, employees will be remunerated based on one of two productivity-linked earning models – one where employees will earn Rs. 50 for every kilo of tea leaf plucked. The other being the revenue share model, where employees can become entrepreneurs.

“The Trade Unions have drawn a line in the sand, and now claim that what is best for our employees is a Rs. 1,000 basic wage without any productivity incentives, or even the need to report to work regularly. In the process, they have rejected multiple offers, each of which delivers a fixed daily wage well in excess of Rs. 1,000. We urge trade unions to consider this proposal in the best interest of the plantation worker, looking beyond political interest.

“Once productivity models are implemented, workers will have the benefit of flexi-hours, and improved worker mobility where other family members can contribute towards the earning process as well. Our workers will have a say in when and how they work, and drastically improve their earnings in the process,” Secretary General of Planters’ Association of Ceylon, asserted.