Estate workers deceived once again – Nawagamuwa
By Nabiya Vaffoor
The Workers’ Struggle Centres will organise a series of protests in the estates demanding increasing the basic daily wage of estate workers to Rs 1,000; Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Propaganda Secretary Duminda Nagamuwa said yesterday (20).
He added that the Ceylon Workers Congress was established with the support of estate workers. However, they did nothing on behalf of their supporters and only violated their basic rights. We are looking forward to getting the support of estate workers and winning their right of increasing their basic salary to Rs 1,000, he added.
“Both main stream political parties promised during election time that they would increase the daily wage of estate workers to Rs 1,000 . A number of collective agreements were also signed but no steps were taken in this regard. None of the mainstream politicians or candidates intervened to solve this problem. The present Government promised that the daily wage of estate workers would be increased on 1 January 2020, then postponed it to 1 March 2020, and again postponed it to 1 January 2021. Yet the daily wage of the estate worker remains the same,” he added.
Nagamuwa further said that their stance is that the basic salary of every estate worker should be Rs 1,000.
“Estate owners have suggested increasing Rs 20 to their current daily wage of Rs 700. A Rs 50 allowance has been mooted. They have also suggested giving another allowance of Rs 75. But to earn this Rs 75, a worker has to work for more than 23 days a month. This is a deceptive mechanism as estate workers cannot decide on the number of days they work, it is the owners who make this decision. Estate owners could therefore limit the number of working days and not allow them to work more than 23 days and thus, deprive them of earning an additional amount,” he added.
“Earlier estate workers were given an allowance which is also Rs 70 for plucking 18 kg of tea leaves, but now, that has been increased to 20 kg,” he claimed.
He also questioned the Government as to whether it was fair to get the votes of estate workers’ by raising the expectations of a basic daily wage of Rs 1,000 and neglecting them after gaining power.