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Plantation Dispute
President’s intervention sought as talks collapse

The Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) called for Presidential intervention after talks between the Plantation Trade unions and the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) failed on Monday. The plantation workers continued with their trade union action which prevented tea being brought to Colombo for the sixth consecutive day, yesterday.

The Plantation workers would continue their go-slow until their demand for a all inclusive daily wage of Rs 500 was granted, Union sources said yesterday.

The Planters’ Association convened a meeting last morning to assess the present situation where they were prevented from bringing estate produce to auctions in Colombo and to decide on their next course of action, Planters Association sources said yesterday.

The Tea Brokers Association, Tea Dealers Associations and Tea Exporters Associations also convened meetings and decided to hold the auctions today September (9) with available stocks.

The Leader of the Upcountry People’s Front, Minister P. Chandrasekeran, in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday, stressed the need for a justifiable salary increase for plantation workers.

The Plantation workers demand a raise from the present wage of Rs 290, which includes a basic salary of Rs. 200, a mandatory supplementary wage of Rs 20 and an incentive for attendance amounting to Rs. 70 to an all inclusive wage of Rs. 500 per day. But, the Plantation companies agreed to grant a basic salary of Rs 270 plus Rs 90 allowance.

In the absence of the President of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Ravi Peiris, who is overseas, discussions were led by Lalith Obeysekera and S. Sathasivam.

Workers were represented by a delegation led by CWC Leader and Minister Arumugam Thondaman and consisted Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam, Senior Vice Presidents R.Yogarajan, Harry Chandrasekera and S. Jegadheeswaran.

The JPCTU was represented by President S. Ramanathan and D. Chandrasena. The LJEWU was led by General Secretary K. Velautham and administrative Secretary M. S. A. H. Mohideen.

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