Labour Minister asks estates to pay increased wages




Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara yesterday said that all estate owners should implement the government decision to increase the plantation workers’ wages to Rs 1,700 from June and the estates of those that fail to do so would be taken over by the government and handed over to others who will manage them properly,

Minister Nanayakkara said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had ordered that a new law be passed to take over the lands from estate companies that did not implement the minimum wage.

The Minister said that several rounds of discussions had been held with plantation companies and labour unions. “They could not reach an agreement, so we summoned a meeting with the Wage Board.

“In the first instance, the estate owners did not attend, and they officially informed us that they would not participate in the second session. Therefore, as a last resort, we proposed a wage of Rs 1,700. We gazetted this, giving the relevant parties 15 days to file objections,” he said.

“Since no substantial objections were received, the Department of Labour, the government, and I, as the Minister of Labour, finalised the notification last Thursday,” the Minister said.