RPC’s face acute shortage of workers | Daily News

RPC’s face acute shortage of workers

Bhathiya Bulumulla
Bhathiya Bulumulla

Regional Plantation Companies (RPC’s) have to find solutions to mitigate the impact on the volatile commodity prices and the decline in production due to extended extreme dry or wet weather conditions following global warming.

These sentiments were expressed by the new Chairman of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon Bhathiya Bulumulla.

“The migration of youth from the plantations to urban areas has caused acute shortage of workers which is another serious issue for consideration, he said. Having this in mind, the Regional Plantation Companies have brought in new technology into the Agriculture Sector by mechanization of some of the major agricultural works including plucking to get the maximum productivity from our asset base – land, “ he said.

The plantation industry has come to a situation where we have to embrace IT solutions as we are dealing with huge volumes of data which need to be analyzed to take timely as the vital information on performance parameters is required every day, as we are stepping into a new challenging world of business, Bulumulla said.

Commenting on the benefits that the workers on RPCs get , the new PA Chief said that there was no compulsion of any sort for them to report for work although they reside in the estates and enjoy all the benefits and facilities.

He said, “The companies contributed towards EPF/ETF and the workers were entitled to service gratuity on completion of five years of service as per the Gratuity Act of 1983. In addition they enjoy fully paid 20 holidays per year, sick leave payment of 14 days and a bonus is paid for their attendance to work. In addition the profit earned by the Company was shared with the workers.

The workers also enjoy fringe benefits such as maternity leave, free aternal child and child care at the estate’s medical facilities, free medicines, drugs, vaccinations and total custodial care of their children below 5 years of age at the estates child development centers.

Health, sanitation, housing, water, social services, welfare, community and support services, facilities and amenities free of charge on estate account from birth to death.

The estates managed by the Regional Plantation Companies serve its worker population with 61 hospitals, 323 dispensaries, 1,474 Child Development Centers caring for 250,000 families with a total population of over a million in 453 estates in 13 districts.

Although the current wage rate of the plantation workers is Rs 855 per day, the total cost of wages is approximately Rs 1,310 with the fringe benefits and facilities afforded to them, he added.