President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened a discussion at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday, engaging heads of plantation companies to deliberate on the vital issue of wage hikes for plantation workers. Encouraging collective deliberation, President Wickremesinghe urged the companies to strive for a minimum wage of Rs. 1,700—a demand set forth by the workers themselves.
Alternatively, he stressed the necessity of arriving at a consensus regarding the increased wage quantum before December 31st, highlighting the urgency of the matter during the meeting.
The primary agenda of the discussion centered on aligning regional plantation companies’ initiatives with the agricultural modernization program outlined in this year’s budget. The talks also encompassed the program aimed at providing land rights to plantation laborers.
In a bid to address pressing concerns, President Wickremesinghe proposed the establishment of committees dedicated to resolving the housing needs of plantation workers and representing the interests of both workers and plantation companies. Expressing optimism about the country’s economic growth driven by exports, he underscored the collective effort required to ensure the success of the agricultural modernization program.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized the imperative role of an export-oriented economy in the nation’s economic development, particularly in light of the rising food demand attributed to the burgeoning populations in Asian countries. He urged the country’s export economy to prepare and capitalize on this burgeoning demand.
The discussion, attended by Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Promotion Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of State for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, and several representatives from local plantation companies, comprehensively explored various aspects of the proposed initiatives.