Estate sector trade unions last week completely rejected the new productivity based wage formula presented by the Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) while agreeing to relax their campaign for a wage hike till the General Elections next month.

Talks between the unions and RPCs ended with no solutions reached after five rounds. President Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Muthu Sivalingam speaking to The Nation Gain stated that the last round of discussions held last week ended on a positive note with the RPCs agreeing to increase the wages up to Rs.700 according to the old system based on attendance. Sivalingam, however, said that the increase was inadequate and they would stick to the initial demand of an increase up to Rs.1000.

Meanwhile, the go-slow campaign launched by workers also came to an end after last week’s discussions.

Chairman, Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), Roshan Rajadurai stated that around 70% of workers had returned to work by Thursday (16) after talks were pushed back till after polls.

“However, the damage caused by the eight-day campaign is massive and will take a long time to recover. Most of the crops are overgrown and we will have to wait for a few weeks for fresh buds. In addition, we also have to fertilize the crops. This will take a long time,” he said.

Rajadurai said that the RPCs incurred a daily loss of Rs.130 million owing to the go-slow campaign. Accordingly, it is expected that the total loss incurred would be to the tune of over Rs.1.04 billion.