Plantation workers in Kerala end stir after wage increase

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 14 (IANS) Plantation workers ended their stir on Wednesday after a settlement on increase in their wages was struck between protesting workers and estate owners at the end of sixth round of tri-partite talks led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Close to three lakh workers from the plantation sector were on an indefinite strike since September 28.

As per the agreement, daily wages in the tea sector were increased from Rs.231 to Rs.301, in the cardamom sector from Rs.267 to Rs.335 and in the rubber industry from Rs.312 to Rs.381.

Addressing the media after the talks, Chandy said the government was precariously placed as the demand for hike in wages was genuine.

“At the same time, the fears and concerns of estate owners on account of falling prices of their produce was also equally grave. It was a tough task for the government and I thank everyone who cooperated with us,” said Chandy.

The workers’ protest first began in Munnar where more than 10,000 women labourers attached to Kannan Devan Hills Plantations (KDHP) Company Private Limited participated in a nine-day strike in September for bonus increase and won.

Reacting to Wednesday’s development, women labourers’ leaders from Munnar said they would decide on the issue on Thursday as they had demanded Rs.500 as daily wages.

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