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* Sri Lanka estate sector union calls for a 40 percent increase in salaries
Mon, Sep 5, 2011, 08:17 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 05, Colombo: The All Ceylon Estate Workers' Union (ACEWU) affiliated to Sri Lanka's Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)is seeking a 40 percent increase in the salaries of the estate workers in line with the high cost of living (CoL).

Head of the ACEWU, Ramalingam Chandrasekar says that the collective agreement reached between several estate sector trade unions and estate sector employers have to be reconsidered since it does not address the issues faced by the estate workers.

He said the union has commenced an awareness campaign by distributing leaflets among the estate sector explaining the issues faced by the workers, the failures in the collective agreement and the need to struggle for a decent wage hike.

He adds that the estate sector employers have refused the requested salary increase citing the lack of revenue, but has increased the daily quota of tea leaves to be collected by each estate worker.

According to Chandrasekar, many benefits that were earlier offered to the state sector employees have now been curtailed.

Therefore, he said the estate workers should also join the public and private sector trade unions to demand a 40 percent salary hike.

Meanwhile, the Employers' Association of the plantation sector has decided to nullify the collective agreement signed recently with the plantation trade unions to increase the salaries of the plantation employees as tea exports have declined due to the crisis in Libya.

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