STAND OFF OVER TEA WAGE

LARGE TEA PLANTATION COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO WORK OUT A PRODUCTIVITY LINKED NEW SALARY STRUCTURE FOR ESTATE WORKERS

Tea plantation companies are in a stand off with the government about how to implement worker wage increases to Rs1,000 per day. Around a third of Sri Lanka’s tea is produced by plantation companies located in the central hills. Unlike the smallholder estates that produce most of the tea crops, the plantation companies employ a workforce who are paid based on the number of days they turn up to work and the weight of the tea leaves they pluck. The planters association that represents the large tea estates is proposing that the new wage have a significant productivity based component, an idea that is opposed by the trade unions representing workers. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made an election pledge to raise the wages of plantation workers to Rs1,000 a day.

9%

Approximate export earnings share of tea in 2019

37%

Drop in registered estate workers between 1992 to 2018

Rs700

Current consolidated daily wage of an estate worker