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12 May 2023

Sri Lanka: Twenty major plantation companies challenge wage raise for tea workers; incl. buyer responses

Twenty major plantation companies in Sri Lanka challenged the decision of the Wages Board to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000, with some reportedly refusing to pay the Rs.1000 daily wage for plantation workers.

The petitioners are: Agarapatana Plantations Limited, Balangoda Plantations PLC, Elpitiya Plantations PLC, Horana Plantations PLC, Hapugastenne Plantations PLC, Kahawatte Plantations PLC, Kegalle Plantations PLC, Kelani Valley Plantations PLC, Kotagala Plantations PLC, Madulsima Plantations PLC, Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC, Maskeliya Plantations PLC, Natural Plantations Limited, Namunukula Plantations PLC, Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC, Udapussallawa Plantations PLC, Watawala Plantations PLC, Hatton Plantations PLC, Bogawantalawa Plantations PLC and Lalan Rubbers (Pvt)  Ltd.

These plantation companies are seeking an order quashing the decision of the Wages Board to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000.

The petitioners stated that in the event they are compelled to pay Rs.1000 as a minimum wage to every estate worker, they would incur significant losses and the petitioner companies would all run at a loss in the foreseeable future.

In December 2022, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ahmad Tea, Betty & Taylors, ekaterra, Jenier, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Tetley, Tesco, Typhoo, Twinings, Starbucks Teavana, Ringtons, and Unilever. The full responses from tea buyers linked to the plantation companies below.