"Collective Agreement, a violation of democracy"

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 November 2004, 11:36 GMT]
The President of the Kandy Human Development Organisation (HDO), Mr. P.P. Sivapragasam, said at a media conference held at the Brighton Hotel, Colombo Monday that the Collective Agreement (CA) entered into between the Employers' Federation and some Trade Unions on wage increase to the Plantation workers, was a violation of democracy.

A petition signed one hundred thousand workers has been presented to Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka and the Employers' Federation to improve housing, resolve land issues and provide sustainable wage increase to estate workers, he said.

Sivapragasam further stated that they have discussed with Mr Rajapakse matters affecting estate workers, including the low standard of living of the Plantation workers, their day to day problems, and inadequate basic facilities.

Mr Rajapakse has reportedly assured them that he would raise the matter with the cabinet and Sri Lanka's President. Mr Sivapragasam added that he urged the Prime Minister to take up the matter also with the Minister of Labour, Minister of Estate Infrastructure to formulate a plan of action.

Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, General Secretary of the Democratic Left Front and President of United Lanka Estate Workers' Union, claimed at the media conference that the workers have been deceived by the Collective Agreement. Since tea and rubber prices continue to remain high workers deserve at least Rs. 300/- per day, and so a higher wage increase could have been obtained.

Sivapragasam also said that a legal opinion is being sought to exclude from the terms and conditions of the said Agreement workers belonging to Trade Unions that did not sign the Agreement.


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