Estate worker TU, Labour Ministry talks end in deadlock | Daily News

Estate worker TU, Labour Ministry talks end in deadlock


Discussions between the estate workers unions and the Labour and Trade Union Relations Ministry on wages ended in deadlock yesterday, as the government insisted that the companies could not afford to increase the wages of tea estate workers.

Ceylon Workers Red Flag Union, General Secretary Menaka Kandaswamy speaking to the Daily News said they held discussions with the Labour Commissioner General, members of the Ministry of Resource and Enterprise Development, Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB) and Elkaduwa Plantations and companies joined in on the discussions.

“They kept insisting that there are losses in the tea industry and that they cannot raise wages. We have three key demands: We want to have guaranteed 25 working days in government owned estates, in the short term have workers clean plantations and look at planting alternatives if the land is not suitable for tea and also establish an independent commission to monitor labour rights violations,”Kadaswamy said.

The Labour Commissioner had informed the unions that an independent commission could only be set up with Cabinet approval and that she would speak to the Labour Minister about it next week.

“We told the government that these workers have toiled for the country for many years and that they cannot simply be disregarded. The workers are fed up and angry, the government keeps telling us to stop the protests and that they would solve the problems but that does not seem to be happening. We are a bit disappointed with the response of the government. We will wait and see and thereafter continue our struggle,”Kandaswamy said.


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