Taking a cue from the success of the smallholder sector, Sri Lanka’s Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) handed over fresh proposals aimed at radically increasing worker earnings during a recently concluded meeting with the Minister of Labour and Trade Unions leaders.
The newly introduced proposal provides for a hybrid between the daily wage model and the productivity-linked earning systems implemented with great success in the smallholder sector. Adding a productivity based component will ensure that worker earnings are expanded, and workers have more flexibility and control over their monthly earnings.
Under the new proposals, RPCs will continue to offer a fixed daily wage with the re-introduction of attendance and productivity incentives. In a notable departure from previous years, the RPCs have proposed a mix of 3 days of daily wage and 3 days of productivity-based earnings, where workers will have the capacity to expand their earnings based on their output.
The first alternative under the productivity-linked proposal is a system where workers are paid Rs. 50 for every kilo of green tea leaf plucked (inclusive of EPF/ETF). Where a high plucking average of between 30-40kgs a day is attained (over and above the existing norm), workers have the potential of expanding their earnings exponentially. In the case of the Rs. 50 rate, a worker who plucks 20 kg will receive Rs. 1,000 per day, and monthly pay of Rs. 25,000.
Current annual plucking averages among RPC companies are between 20-22kgs a day. However, a majority of the best harvesters have plucking averages between 30-40kgs, this means that earnings can now be expanded to over Rs. 37,500-62,000 per month.
The next alternative is that workers are remunerated based on a share of the National Sales Average (NSA) ratio of 35%.
Furthermore, under the new daily-wage component of the proposal, workers will be paid a total Rs. 1,025 for a day’s work. The breakdown is as follows: Basic Wage – Rs. 700, EPF/ETF – Rs. 105, Attendance Incentive – Rs. 70, Production Incentive – Rs. 75 and Price Share Supplement – Rs. 75. If workers are to be compensated purely on this model, they will see an increase in their monthly earnings by Rs. 4,250. If workers exceed the plucking norm, they will receive a higher compensation.
In pilot projects conducted on RPC estates and according to studies conducted by the Tea Research Institute, such productivity-linked models have been proven time and again to tremendously increase worker productivity and earnings.
The RPC proposal also recommends that discretion be given to companies to choose between the implementation of either model.
“We urge all stakeholders to carefully consider the extremely valuable benefits that our proposals offer. We must move away from the traditional wage system and look towards the sustainability of the industry, where workers can become empowered entrepreneurs. Once productivity models are implemented, workers will have the benefit of flexi-hours, and worker mobility where other family members can contribute towards the earning process as well. Our workers will have a say in when and how they work, and drastically improve their earnings in the process,” Planters’ Association of Ceylon Chairman, Bhathiya Bulumulla asserted.
LOLC Al-Falaah unveils pioneering Wadi’ah Gold-Storage Facility with multiple customer benefits
Sri Lanka’s most awarded and trusted Alternate Financial services brand, LOLC Al-Falaah recently unveiled their ground-breaking new product – the Wadi’ah Gold Loan Facility. This is the 1st time a Finance company in Sri Lanka is offering this facility. Al-Falaah Wadi’ah is a unique gold storage option offered to Al-Falaah’s valued customer base. All gold articles are tested for quality and authenticity using state-of-the art equipment by the company’s experienced staff without causing any damage to the jewellery. A unique ‘Gold Storage Certificate’ with the description of articles, including weight, quality and quantity along with the market value will be issued to the customer when obtaining this facility.
Speaking about the new product, Mr. Shiraz Refai, Deputy General Manager of LOLC Al-Falaah said, “Gold is a favourite investment option at all levels within the concentrated community. The metal is usually pawned, sold or exchanged when in need of cash. As the conventional Pawning options and Gold Loan offering has limitations to cater to the specific needs, as well as contradict with certain beliefs of the community, a concept acceptable and practiced in the industry is introduced by LOLC’s Alternate Financial Services Unit to its valued customer segment”.
Accordingly, a unique feature has been introduced to the Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold Storage facility offering the Customer the benefit of obtaining an interest-free maximum Cash-Advance in the industry at zero mark-up against the gold storage certificate value for any emergencies. In addition, for the convenience of the customers, the Gold storage facility period is extended from 3, 6 and 12 months without any requirement for a deposit and the custodial fees are comparatively competitive. The stored gold articles will also be offered a free Takaful cover with a reassurance of highest safety and security.
The Al-Falaah Wadi’ah gold storage facility will be initially available at selected branches including Wellawatta, Akkaraipattu, Kalmunai, Pottuvil, Grandpass, Maradana, Mawanella, Matara, Nawalapitiya and Negombo. Al-Falaah aims to make the facility available across all LOLC Finance branches and dedicated Al-Falaah centers island-wide by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.
Commenting on the new Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold loan facility, Nishantha Jayasekera, Chief Manager, SME Unit & Head of Gold Loan Business of LOLC Finance said, “The main aim of this facility is to give financial-access to the grass-root level clients who do not have direct access to banking & finance, but require small cash advances to develop daily businesses and self-employment. Through this product and its value added features, we hope to cover all segments of the population”.
LANKATILES donates high-end ventilator to Colombo North Teaching Hospital
A Rs. 4.3 million ventilator has been donated to the Coronary Care Unit of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, by LANKATILES, the country’s leading tile manufacturer.
The machine was described as a high-end, world-class piece of equipment suitable for all patient groups.
Present at the official hand-over were Mr Mahendra Jayasekera, Managing Director of Lanka Walltiles PLC and Lanka Tiles PLC, Dr. S. P. A. Liyanage Ranaweera, Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Sanjeewa Rajapakse, Consultant Cardiologist of the hospital.
At a time when state-of-the-art equipment is urgently needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, LANKATILES reaffirmed its commitment to help frontline hospital staff in their efforts at reducing the spread of the virus and easing patient numbers.
The company said this was a commitment it is ready to stand by at all times in the interests of the country.
Sampath Bank hosts Central Bank’s ‘MatarataQR’ event to promote QR code use
Matara, April 3rd, 2021: Sampath Bank PLC recently hosted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) MatarataQR event, in a bid to drive awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020.
Encouraging consumers to adopt the use of QR codes in their day-to-day transactions, the event was held at the Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara under the patronage of the Chief Guest, Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Power and Guest of Honour, D. Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; along with senior officials from the CBSL, other commercial banks and financial institutions. Sampath Bank was represented by Nanda Fernando – Managing Director; Tharaka Ranwala – Senior DGM – Operations / Group Chief Marketing Officer and Ajith Salgado – Group Chief Information Officer.
At the event, the Bank actively promoted its ‘WePay’ mobile wallet which helped attract more customers while also onboarding new merchants. A 25% cash back was on offer for payments at over 200 merchants in Matara on the day, made via the LANKAQR enabled WePay digital mobile payment app.
“We are very proud to partner with the Central Bank to host this event that will highlight the safety, convenience and speed of getting onboard the LANKAQR payment standard to the people of Matara. These benefits, coupled with the advanced digital banking solutions offered by Sampath Bank, make it a simple choice to migrate to digital payment technology and we warmly invite the merchants in Matara to come experience the benefits of adopting this new method of payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.
Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours and slip-less banking to name a few. The Bank is steadily transforming itself into a ‘tech company engaged in banking,’ from the traditional approach of a bank engaged in technology.
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