Plantation Association urges sustainable wage model | Daily News

Plantation Association urges sustainable wage model

Bathiya Bulumulla
Bathiya Bulumulla

The Plantation Association of Ceylon (PAC) will have to face a very challenging and crucial future from early next year over the most pressing and important salary revision of Plantation workers in all sectors and with regard to the temporary ban imposed by the Government on Oil Palm cultivation.

Newly appointed PAC , Chairman Bathiya Bulumulla said so at the 166th Annual General Meeting, held at BMICH .

Addressing the audience Chairman Bulumulla said PAC is now working very closely with the new Government and related Ministers to obtain their support to resolve these crucial issues and also to develop a new vision for the country’s future Plantation Industry.

He highlighted that these important and burning issues should be solved without further delay and such issues can be sustainably resolved if all stakeholders put aside their differences and work hard in collaboration for the betterment of the entire industry.

He said “We wish to state that we should implement a sustainable wage model if we need to take this prestigious 150 -year old industry towards a brighter future,”

“Our vision is to start working towards an alternative wage model that will benefit plantation workers and thereafter to sustain our industry for generations to come. The migration of youth from the plantations to urban areas also continues to cause acute shortages of workers and to meet this issue; we must think differently to develop our industry.”

He said the introduction of new technology is essential to overcome these long-standing barriers to achieve maximum productivity.

He also mentioned that today’s technology has advanced to the level where massive volumes of data can be rapidly analysed in order to improve the quality and speed of decision making and in future we will not be able to wait until the end of the month to see whether a Company or estate is able to run at a profit or not. He said new technology such as digital devices has already been implemented in his Company - Elpitiya Plantations PLC to the Field Staff to capture the data at divisional level in the Morning Muster and at various workplaces.

“I will also be forming a ‘think-tank’ in order to identify and pursue future development activities for the PA,” he said.

The Chairman also commends the entire Plantation industry which was the only sector in Sri Lanka that was able to continue operations uninterrupted during the pandemic situation, except for an initial break of 3 to 4 days.

Addressing the AGM Outgoing PAC Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde thanked the Government for taking initiative to ensure the continuity of the industry during the pandemic situation.

“One of the most remarkable in this regard was the conversion of tea auctions from the outcry system carried out for over a century into an e-auction which has since become part of the new normal, “he said.

He said the national production of rubber also keeps declining due to the poor prices which have continued for over the past 8 years

He further said the oil palm industry commenced over 50 years ago, but, unfortunately there is now a ban on any further planting or replanting of oil palm,”.