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News


Storm brewing over controversial estate agreement

Plantation trade unions are sharply divided over the recently signed collective agreement with the Employers’ Federation, seeking a wage hike for the plantation workers.
The Employers’ Federation signed the collective agreement with the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU) on October 10.
According to the agreement, the plantation management companies managing the estates agreed to increase the daily wage of the workers by an additional Rs. 30.
However, the agreement clipped the wings of all the trade unions by including a clause preventing the unions from asking for any more wage increase or other benefits for two more years.
Since the CWC was satisfied with the agreement, they signed the document and accepted portfolios.
Nevertheless, Upcountry Peoples Front (UPF) led by Minister of Community Development and Social Inequity Eradication P. Chandrasekaran, Western Peoples’ Front (WPF) led by parliamentarian Mano Ganesan, Ceylon Workers Alliance (CWA) led by S. Sathasivam and National Workers Union led by T. Digambaram have, in unison, protested against this agreement.
The four parties will consider action against this in due course, a spokesman said.
Meanwhile Minister Chandrasekaran told The Nation that he was shocked to hear that the CWC and LJEWU signed this piece of document for their own political mileage, without considering the plight of the workers.
He said the agreement had tied the hands of the trade unions by preventing them from making any demands aimed at safeguarding the welfare of the workers for two more years.
He added that, in the plantation industry, this was the ‘worst’ ever agreement signed between the federation and the trade unions in history.

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