Estate workers begin indefinite strike

Estate workers launched an indefinite strike today demanding a wage increase after plantation companies refused to agree.

Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) had decided not to agree to pay estate workers Rs. 1,000 as a daily wage despite demands by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and trade unions.

The President-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa met plantation company owners on Thursday and looked to reach a compromise on the issue as estate workers continued to strike demanding a wage hike to Rs. 1,000.

The unions are asking for Rs. 1,000 as a basic wage up from the current Rs. 500.

At the meeting, the plantation companies proposed that unions agree to Rs. 940 as an all inclusive package or a revenue share model as the companies cannot afford to pay Rs. 1,000 as a basic daily wage.

However, Ceylon Worker’s Congress (CWC) Leader Arumugam Thondaman, who was at the meeting, said the unions would not agree to anything short of Rs. 1,000 as a basic daily wage.