May 20, 2024
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    Prepared to Confront Legal Action from Estate Companies over Estate Workers’ Wage Hike – Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development, Jeevan Thondaman. Featured

    May 13, 2024

    Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development, Jeevan Thondaman, affirmed that the government is ready to face any situation if the estate companies take court action against the government’s decision to increase the wages of the estate workers’ community.

    Previously, plantation companies claimed an inability to augment the basic salary of workers even by a single rupee. However, following the government’s declaration of a daily wage of Rs.1700, Minister Thondaman disclosed that the companies proposed a Rs.200 increase in the basic salary for estate workers. He emphasized that the companies have the ability to increase the wages of estate workers.

    Minister Thondaman made these statements while addressing a press briefing held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (13) under the theme ‘Collective path to a stable country’.

    The minister further stated that the Jaffna peninsula has long struggled with a severe shortage of drinking water, necessitating urgent solutions. Currently, only 11% of the peninsula enjoys access to clean drinking water. However, with the ongoing construction of a desalination plant, nearly 40% of the Jaffna peninsula will soon have access to drinking water. This could be pointed out as a considerable development in addressing the issue of water scarcity.

    In the wake of a severe economic crisis affecting the country, estate workers are one of the groups most affected. Continuing long-term suffering amid economic turmoil, their struggle revolves around the pivotal issue of wages.

    In response, the government has taken decisive action by officially mandating a daily wage of Rs.1700 for estate workers under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, through a gazette notification. It is now imperative for estate companies to adhere to this official judgment. Additionally, the government is prepared to confront any legal challenges from estate companies contesting the wage increase for plantation workers.

    The plantation companies previously claimed an inability to raise the basic salary of their workers even by a rupee. However, upon the issuance of a government gazette notification setting the daily wage for plantation workers at Rs.1700, the same companies promptly augmented the basic salary by Rs.200. This demonstrates their capacity to improve the wages of estate workers.

    Concurrently, the government is actively enhancing the estate community’s standard of living by addressing housing shortages among plantation workers, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and now, by increasing salaries. This concerted effort undoubtedly serves our estate community well, providing tangible benefits to our people.

    However, as the election season nears, certain parties tend to make a slew of promises to our people. Among these pledges, some claim to transform estate workers into small estate owners. However, they often fail to elaborate on the mechanisms behind such proposals.

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