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Government to Extend Lease Agreements for Compliant Plantation Companies and Cancel Non-Compliant Leases

July 10, Colombo (LNW): The Government has decided to extend the lease agreements of plantation companies that pay a daily wage of Rs. 1,700 to plantation workers and to cancel the lease agreements of those that fail to meet this wage requirement.

In addition, the government will gazette non-estate areas where workers have built line rooms, houses, or huts, converting them into settlements. This proposal was presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and approved by the Cabinet during a meeting held yesterday (09), according to Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara.

Minister Nanayakkara addressed estate workers who were protesting in front of the Labour Department, demanding wage increases. The workers dispersed after the Minister’s announcement.

Previously, President Wickremesinghe had proposed to the Cabinet to increase the daily wages of plantation workers. Although the Administrative Council discussed the matter, no solution was reached. Minister Nanayakkara used his powers to issue an announcement mandating wage increases for estate workers.

The order required plantation companies to raise the daily wage from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,350, with the remaining Rs. 350 to be paid based on productivity. A committee was appointed on the President’s advice to oversee the extension of lease agreements for companies that comply and the cancellation of agreements for those that do not.

Minister Nanayakkara confirmed that the Cabinet has decided to cancel the lease agreements of companies that fail to pay the required wages. Legal advice has been obtained, and further steps are being taken to enforce these decisions.

“These activities will commence today. We aim to implement measures beyond the gazette notification. Necessary steps are being taken to ensure proper payment to plantation workers. Several estate companies have already agreed to pay the increased wages, with Rs. 1,000 being paid this month and the remaining Rs. 350 based on productivity,” said the Minister.

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