Plantation Workers’ Stir to Intensify as Talks Fail

With the second round of talks failing to meet the demands for wage hike and 20 percent bonus put forth by plantation workers in Kerala, the indefinite strike will continue. Plantation workers have decided to intensify the agitation which started Monday.

The meeting held at Plantation Labour Committee, Thiruvananthapuram in presence of ministers Shibu Baby John and Aryadan Muhammed, failed to reach a consensus on the minimum wages.

Trade unions stuck to the demand that minimum wages be increased to Rs 500 and for a 20 percent bonus, which was not acceptable to the plantation owners. Nearly three lakh plantation workers, employed in different estates in Kerala, are on strike.

AITUC, CITU, INTUC, BMS and several small trade unions are participating in the strike.

The United Planters Association of Southern India termed the workers’ demand for a daily wage of Rs 500 as ‘impractical’.

“It would not be possible for us to bear Rs 500 daily as wages. That demand is impractical…because the current economic realities coupled with the plethora of taxes and levies, does not make it a viable proposition,” UPASI President N Dharmaraj told reporters in Kochi.

Meanwhile, the women workers are yet to finalize a decision on participating in the strike. They will take a decision only after discussing with their colleagues. They, however, demanded the issue be settled at the earliest.