MP Vadivel Suresh says that the hike of the daily wage of estate workers to Rs 1000 cannot be just a campaign promise.
Speaking at a press conference, he pointed out that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised that the daily wage of estate workers will be hiked to Rs 1000 after he wins the Presidential Election.
“They say that the wage will be given in March. However, the March salary will be given on April 10.
Yet, by any chance the general election has been declared by then, the Election Commission could intervene and halt it. This has happened before.”
MP Suresh says while he is grateful that the President obtained the approval of the Cabinet for this wage hike, it needs to be implemented.
“Now the 22 companies should be told to pay the workers accordingly. This is a simple task. There are only about 240,740 estate workers in this country. Now the government has to legalize it [the cabinet decision]. Once it is legal, the companies have to pay.
The President should ask the companies to pay the workers Rs 1000 with the arrears since January. Because he said the Rs 1000 will be given after the election.”
The MP said that Tamil people are not the only estate workers. Sixty percent of the estate workers are Tamil while the other forty percent are Sinhalese, he pointed out.
“Therefore all in this country have a duty, a responsibility to increase the wages of the estate workers considering the cost of living.
All must be responsible. Be it the previous government or the current government. Do not play with the workers. Do not give false promises. Must not give false campaign promises either. If the President said that Rs 1000 will be paid, it must be given immediately.
But this cannot have any conditions. ‘Must cut more than 1 kg of tea, more rubber must be tapped.’ They must be robots to do that. It cannot happen.