by Shamindra Ferdinando
Government Spokesman State Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said on Wednesday, January 22, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to increase the daily wage of an estate worker to Rs. 1,000 from March 01, 2020, had not been seriously opposed by the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.
Addressing the media at the Prime Minister’s Office, lawmaker Aluthgamage said those who had been fighting for Rs 1,000 daily wage now question the government over the feasibility of the President’s decision.
Lawmaker Aluthgamage criticized the response of the UNP, and those Tamil political parties affiliated to the UNP, to the President’s move.
The Government Spokesman said that Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the President, was expected to meet representatives of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon to discuss the developments.
Members of the Federation already held discussions with Plantation Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana. The discussions covered possible relief measures to overcome difficulties, lawmaker Aluthgamage said asserting that the government didn’t experience serious resistance to what he called wage hike proposal.
State Minister Aluthgamage’s comments followed Employers’ Federation of Ceylon declaring the grouping was ‘deeply perturbed’ by the government move.
According to the Federation, the government had intervened in collective agreement among regional plantation companies and two major estate sector unions-CWC and LJEWU effective till January 2021.
The State Minister said that the government was going ahead with estate workers’ wage hike.
The Government Spokesman asserted that contrary to claims, plantation companies could afford to pay workers Rs 1,000 daily wage.