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Talks on Kerala estate workers' wages today

Workers of Kanan Deven Hills Plantaion Company Ltd staging a dharna in front of the company's head office in Munnar on Sunday in this recent photo.  

Kerala's Plantation Labour Committee (PLC) is holding crucial talks on revising the wages of plantation workers in the State here on Saturday.

Coming as it does in the wake of the militant show of strength by thousands of women workers of the Kannan Devan Hill Plantations (KDHP) in Munnar in the first week of this month, the talks have assumed considerable significance. The women had made history by launching an indefinite sit-in on their own, keeping out mainstream trade unions and political parties. The stir had forced the government and the plantation management to finally agree to a 20 per cent 'bonus' package, including 8.33 per cent bonus and 11.67 per cent ex-gratia payment.

Plantations across Kerala are in ferment following the success of the women's stir with workers in every single plantation demanding higher wages and bonus. However, the plantation managements have declared that they be forced to shut shop if the workers' demands are met. The finances of the plantations are so precarious that any hike in wages would make their survival difficult, Association of Planters of Kerala chairman Vinayaraghavan had told a news conference here on Friday.

Representatives of the women estate workers of Munnar would not have representation at the PLC meeting, to be chaired by Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, as under the Plantation Labour Act only members of the PLC, representing the plantation labour unions and managements, can attend the meeting.

The Munnar women workers called on Mr. Baby John here this morning and submitted a detailed charter of demands to him for discussion by the meeting. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had, on Saturday, urged the plantation managements to see the ground realities and see how best they could meet the demands of the workers.


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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 7:30:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/talks-on-kerala-estate-workers-wages-today/article7691921.ece

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