Plantation workers in Sri Lanka have been protesting for more than a year to increase their demands. On October 24, 2018, thousands of tea gardeners and their loved ones staged a massive demonstration at galle Face Green in Colombo, the capital. The workers asked the government to increase the daily wages of the gatherers in the hills of Central and Uva. They also called for a review of the collective agreement signed in 2016 between the employers` organisation and the tea workers` unions. A spokesman for the Planters` Association of Ceylon (PA), the umbrella organization of the 22 regional plantation companies, told the media that THE RPCs would not be able to meet workers` expectations until world tea prices improved. AP officials said the RPCs offered the best package for workers whose wages are brought home if they are added up with all the incentives, up to the 940 aid. The doubling of the base salary, which is currently 500 ru. at 1,000 Rs. is unaffordable for RPCs who have problems on many fronts, they said. The AP found that in CPP real estate, where a revenue participation model has been successfully implemented, workers have monthly wages of between R50,000. and 80,000 Rs. A collective agreement on wages and workers is signed every two years between plantation unions and regional plantation companies (RPCs).
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY called for a shift towards a revenue-participation model, with the claim of restrictions imposed by the current model of the ability to earn workers because of its « traditional wage structure, deeply rooted in the colonial past of this industry. On January 28, 2019, nearly 1,000 farm workers gathered in Central Hills` largest city, Hatton, under the banner of the « One Thousand Movement » to denounce the new union leaders` collective agreement. The obligations and mutual benefits of workers and businesses should be at the heart of dialogue and collective bargaining and ensure that agreements are not just a list of demands, but a « social pact » for a common goal. Workers need to feel a sense of ownership, as well as local management, in order to identify the links between productivity, worker satisfaction and personal well-being (including decent working conditions, adequate labour protection measures and subsistence wages). The CEF stated that if the proposed increase were to be imposed in the PRCs, it would be inconsistent with the legislation and values of Convention 98 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on collective bargaining. « Every two years, we have to have negotiations and strikes. It takes months to reach an agreement. It`s time to review the model and we`ve already discussed this situation with some of the plantation companies, » Ceylon Workers Congress Treasurer Mr Ramesh told the Daily FT. Each year, tea workers process about 675 million pounds of ceylon tea to support the Sri Lankan tea industry. However, they are forced to work on plantations for extremely low wages, as much of the country, which belongs to the Tamils, remains occupied by the Sri Lankan army, even after the end of 27 years of civil war in 2009.