The Planters’ Association of Ceylon is yet to take a final decision with regard to raising the daily wage of workers.

President of the association Senaka Alawattegama told so journalists today (27) at a briefing attended by heads of tea and other trade associations.

They said in a joint statement the government-declared wage hike is problematic and that they were looking to a flexible decision in consultation with the government.

They described the decision to raise the wage for tea and estate workers by 70 per cent as arbitrary, shortsighted and unilateral.

This decision will weaken the plantation sector and create economic instability in the country, they warned.

The resultant increase in production cost by around 45 pc will deny the country a competitive edge in the global market, they pointed out.

Also, it will raise annual EPF/ETF payments to Rs. 35 billion, also endangering the livelihood of thousands of workers, said the association.

Interference in plantation management by top government figures is a violation of directives in the IMF agreement, they noted.

Its aim is clearly neither long-term economic development in plantations nor safeguarding workers’ rights, but a short-term political strategy to win elections.

The association has been mooting an income sharing method based on productivity that ensures a reasonable and lasting wage mechanism, they said.

The association urged policymakers to consider a wage mechanism for long-term economic stability. 

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