Sri Lanka Government ready to raise estate worker wages despite company objections

Jeevan Thondaman

Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development, Jeevan Thondaman, stated that the government is prepared to handle any legal challenges from estate companies regarding the decision to raise wages for estate workers.

Before, plantation companies argued they couldn’t increase worker salaries, even by a single rupee. However, after the government announced a daily wage of Rs. 1700, Minister Thondaman revealed that the companies proposed a Rs. 200 increase.

He stressed that they have the means to raise wages.

Thondaman made these remarks during a press briefing at the President Media Centre on Monday (May 13), themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.

He also highlighted the water scarcity issue in Jaffna, stating that only 11% currently have access to clean water. But with a desalination plant under construction, this figure is expected to rise to 40%, a significant improvement.

Amid the country’s economic crisis, estate workers are severely affected, mainly regarding wages.

The government’s response was to set a daily wage of Rs. 1700, with President Ranil Wickremesinghe leading the initiative. They’re prepared to face any legal challenges from estate companies.

The government is also addressing housing shortages, expanding educational and job opportunities, and increasing salaries to improve the estate community’s standard of living.

However, with elections approaching, some parties make promises, like turning estate workers into small estate owners, without explaining how they’ll achieve this.