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Will increased pay land estate workers in hot water? 

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Spokesperson for the Planters Association of Ceylon Roshan Rajadurai states that tea production has declined by 23%, and that tea small holders will be forced to leave the trade as they will be unable to pay the the wages due to the pay hikes. 

He further stated that it has caused a decline in demand for Ceylon tea in the world market by about 5-10 % and that some orders were even cancelled and awarded to other countries. 

He added that an appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court asking for a reprieve regarding increasing the wages and if they do not receive it, they would be paying the increased wages on 10 July. 

The production cost of a kilo of tea leaves is Rs. 1,092 and with the increased wages it’ll rise to Rs. 1,450. Last year (2023), a kilo of Ceylon tea was sold at the world market at Rs. 1,072. 

If the world market price for Ceylon tea goes up to Rs. 1,500 and the harvested tea per tea plucker goes up to 27kg per day, the increased wages could be paid without any problem, the spokesperson added. 

He cited India’s Assam state as an example, stating that it produces 600 Mn kgs of tea per year and that each tea plucker harvests 34 kg per day. A Sri Lankan tea plucker in comparison harvests 18 kg per day. 

Reduction of working days 

Meanwhile, reports also state that plantation companies are preparing to reduce the number of working days of estate workers. 

The wage increase were gazetted, raising it to Rs. 1,700 and payable from 21 May. Up country estate workers state that it has not been added to their May salary. 

The Planter’s Association filed a petition at the Supreme Court asking for the cancellation of the gazette however, the injunction order was rejected by the court. Thus, plantation trade unions state the increased wages should be paid from 21 May onwards. The Plantation owners say that it will be paid from 10 July if ordered by court. 

Meanwhile, a tea factory linked to the government has paid its workers the increased wages on 10 June. It is said that they received funds for it from the treasury. 

ILO praise for wage hike 

Meanwhile, the Director General of the International Labor Organization Gilbert F. Houngbo praised Sri Lanka for increasing the wages of estate workers by 70%. 

In a press release Labour Ministry states that a discussion was held between the Labour Minister and the ILO Director General  on 10 June, during the annual International Labour Conference held in Geneva. 

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Ceylon tea exports offset $60M of Sri Lanka’s fuel debt to Iran

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The Sri Lanka Tea Board announced yesterday that exports of Ceylon Tea have successfully offset a substantial portion of the country’s fuel bill owed to Iran, amounting to US $ 60 million.

Since 2011, Sri Lanka has accumulated an arrears of US $ 251 million for fuel imports from Iran.

Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Niraj De Mel said that the settlement was achieved, as exports of tea to Iran tripled during this period.

Facing financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic economic downturn, Sri Lanka struggled to meet its financial obligations to Iran, due to the foreign exchange shortages.

To resolve this issue, an agreement was reached between the two nations, focusing on settling outstanding debts through tea exports.

De Mel reported that tea exports to Iran from January to May 2024 totalled 4.98 million kilogrammes, a significant increase compared to 1.85 million kilogrammes exported during the same period in 2023.

(dailymirror.lk)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff) 

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Sri Lanka to Host ICC Annual General Meeting, July 19-22

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In a statement, SLC mentioned that the mega cricket conference will bring together over 220 delegates from 108 ICC member countries from across the world, covering regions such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia Pacific, and Europe.

The pinnacle gathering of cricket administrators and stakeholders from around the globe, the ICC Annual Conference provides the platform for discussions on the strategic direction of the sport, governance, and the development of cricket worldwide, it added.

This year’s conference, themed “Capitalizing on the Olympic Opportunity,’ will discuss topics such as ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ ‘environmental sustainability and the sport,’ and ‘Cricket’s triumphant return at LA28.

“This is a significant occasion for Sri Lanka, and we wish to warmly welcome the delegates from around the world to our beautiful island. We intend to use this conference to contribute to the future of cricket and showcase the beauty and heritage of our country to the world,” said Mr. Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

The annual conference will consist of a series of key meetings, workshops, and networking sessions, and key decisions will be taken for the benefit of the future of the game.

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Mervin Backs Wijeyadasa for President

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Former Sri Lankan Minister Mervin Silva is backing Minister (Dr) Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne, as potential candidates for President.

“This country needs a leader who can take it forward,” Silva asserted.

As election campaigns intensify, he highlighted the tendency of politicians to make extravagant promises. 

Drawing from his experience serving under Mahinda Rajapaksa, Silva recalled the distribution of various items, including material and undergarments, during campaigns. Despite these efforts, Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the election.

Similarly, Silva pointed out that Sajith Premadasa’s massive rallies at Galle Face Green did not secure victory. 

“We need a leader,” Silva emphasized, *”who can uphold law and order, enforce laws effectively, and collaborate with experts.”

In his opinion, Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stands out as the best candidate for the presidency. Silva also mentioned ongoing discussions with President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne.

“Deceitful politicians,” Silva concluded, “must be held accountable and sent home.”

newsfirst.lk

(This story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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