Fixed daily wage of Rs 1,105 thrice a week for estate workers
The Chairpersons of Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), during a meeting with the Minister of Labor Nimal Siripala de Silva, submitted a proposal to offer a fixed daily wage of Rs 1,105 to estate workers with the reintroduction of attendance and productivity incentives.
A release issued by the Planters’ Association of Ceylon notes that the proposal takes into consideration the sustainability of both the industry and livelihoods of plantation workers.
The breakdown of the proposed salary is as follows,
Basic Wage – Rs. 700 ;
EPF/ETF – Rs. 105 ;
Attendance Incentive – Rs. 150 ;
Productivity Incentive – Rs. 150 ;
The proposal noted that the proposed fixed daily wage model would be implemented 3 days a week while RPC would be able to opt for a productivity-based model for the rest of the days. The proposal also noted that under the productivity-linked component, employees can earn Rs. 50 (inclusive of EPF/ETF) for every kilo of tea leaf plucked. In the case of Rubber, this would amount to Rs. 125 (inclusive of EPF/ETF) for every kilo of rubber latex.
Alternatively, employees would be remunerated based on a revenue share model, offering greater earnings, similar to what has long been practiced with success in the smallholder sector in Sri Lanka.
The Planters’ Association of Ceylon notes that this proposal would be the first step to modernizing the entire industry and moving beyond a basic daily wage system which they describe as a relic of the colonial era. The release also notes that without improvements in productivity it would be extremely difficult for any RPC to remain financially sustainable.