Govt mulls revenue sharing model

Plantation workers’ salaries:
5 February, 2023

The Planters Association (PA) welcomed the move by the government to look at a revenue sharing salary model for plantation workers.

Executive Committee member of PA, Roshan Rajadurai said that from 2000 to 2021 wages have increased from Rs.115 to Rs.1,000 which is a 770% increase. All RPCs follow the Wages Board directive to pay Rs. 1,000 per day. RPCs have consistently advocated for reforms to the colonial-era daily wage model, in favour of a productivity and revenue share model.”

He said if implemented the proposed model; Workers can earn far more than a fixed Rs.1,000 a day, and they will have the benefit of flexi-hours, and improved worker mobility where other family members can contribute towards the earning process”.

Rajadurai said a majority of the best harvesters have plucking averages between 30-40kgs, which means that earnings can be expanded to over Rs. 60,000 per month through the new pay model.

He also said, “RPCs directly employ over 115,000 workers and care for a resident population of 1 million residing within estates.

Since 1992 the workforce has reduced from 327,000 to approximately 115,000 to date, and shows no signs of stopping.

Workers are provided maternity benefits which include three months paid maternity leave, free maternal and child care on the estate itself, allowances for milk powder, flour and rice, free issue of medicines, drugs, vaccinations and vitamins, total custodial child care on estate account up to five years, all vaccinations from birth up to five years and elders home for retirees.

RPCs have also supported the setting up of 61 Hospitals, 323 Dispensaries, 1474 Child Development Centers caring for 250,000 families in 453 estates in 13 districts.

Since privatisation 15 mega water supply projects have been established to provide safe water and sanitation to 3,000 households, 58,477 houses have been re-roofed and repaired, 38,296 houses built and handed over to workers.

104 child development centres have also been constructed. Chairman Sanka Alawattegama said the plantation sector is one of the key sources of earning foreign exchange and expected to further grow during this year, with anticipation of positive backing from the government.

The economy is experiencing its worst performance in modern history and he said that they believe that the root cause of this dysfunction has been the terminal failure of successive Governments to formulate policy based on robust stakeholder consultation.

– Sunday Observer Sri Lanka

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