By Cyril Wimalasurendre,
our Kandy Corr.
The Ceylon Estate Staff’s Union has threatened to take severe trade union action over the failure of the authorities to grant long ever due demands of its members.
Chairman of the union Dhammika Jayawardana told a media conference in Kandy that the union’s membership would even resort to an island-wide strike if the demands were not met in accordance with the assurance given to the unions six months ago.
"The six months period is ending within the next few weeks. We wish that the authorities will keep to the promise, if not,
we would have to resort to severe trade union action," warned the union chairman.
"Estate sector employees are not only the superintendents and the labourers. Between those two sectors is a category of employees playing a vital role in the functioning of a plantation," he said.
That category comprised of clerks, field officers, plant supervisory, welfare officers and doctors. There were about 6,000 of them in the three state run plantations namely Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB), Sri Lanka Plantation Corporation (SLPC) and Elkaduwa Plantations, Jayawardana said.
"There are salary anomalies, E.P.F. and E.T.F. contributions are not deposited properly and gratuity is not paid to the leaving staff members. A large number of plantations of the three organisations are now closed down due to poor management. Valuable trees in the plantations are cut down and sold as timber instead. During the last ten years at least 80 factories were closed down and their buildings lay idling."
Jayawardana said that his union was against any privatisation of the three public sector run plantations. His union was for the protection of these plantations.
Jayawardana further said that the JEDB had spent at least Rs. 4,600 million as legal expenses during the past two years.