The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), yesterday strongly condemned repeated abusive behaviour towards estate managers in the area by a local politician in the Uva Province.
The PA, the representative body of Sri Lanka’s formal plantation industry, in a statement expressed strong disapproval of the repeated use of threatening and abusive language against estate managers in the presence of estate workers by a local politician, and attempts to disrupt estate activities through instigation of workers, go-slows and attempts to block the transport of produce, that have resulted in business losses, operational problems and threats to security on estates. The PA maintains that such behaviour by a political representative of the people is a blatant display of abuse of power, undermines democratic processes and is harmful for the plantation industry and the overall Sri Lankan economy.
The PA notes that the plantation industry is already facing financial difficulties due to reduced tea prices, volatile market conditions in the Middle East and significant cost increases incurred through the recent wage revision. Therefore, at a time when there is an imperative to safeguard the viability of the vital plantation sector through the cooperation of all stakeholders, destabilising the plantation industry, by instigating labour discontent and disrupting management and operations of estates, will have immediate adverse consequences on the plantation industry, plantation workers and families, and the Sri Lankan economy. The PA requests the fullest cooperation of all to overcome a crisis situation, without which plantation companies will find it difficult to meet their financial commitments including the wages and incentives of workers.
The PA notes that the plantation industry is equipped with adequate dispute resolution mechanisms to address any dispute in the industry, in a democratic and transparent manner through dialogue, without resorting to abusive language, physical threats, work disruption, physical violence and destruction of national assets.
“Therefore, the PA would like to call upon all stakeholders, including trade unions and political representatives, to safeguard Sri Lanka’s centuries old plantation industry by using peaceful mechanisms in addressing any industry related concerns.
The PA in turn would like to reiterate its support for plantation workers, their families and the country and will work towards ensuring industry stability through dialogue and cooperation,” the statement added.