Thiruvanthapuram, November 15: Planters in Kerala on Sunday sought the government’s intervention, failing which they warned of a major crisis in the sector with some three lakh workers.
Kerala accounts for 82 percent of the country’s rubber production, 71 percent of cardamom, six percent of tea and 21 percent of coffee output. Facing stress due to mounting costs, the Association of Planters Kerala (APK) has warned that it cannot raise wages for workers although it had agreed to do that earlier.
APK, the umbrella organization of planters having interest in tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee, represents about 60 percent of the organized plantation sector in Kerala. APK chairman C. Viyaraghavan told the media on Sujndn that prices of plantation crops had touched rock bottom.
Last month, following numerous rounds of talks involving trade unions, the APK, government officials and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, it was agreed to raise daily wages. It meant increasing wages from Rs.231 in the tea sector to Rs.301, in the cardamom sector from Rs.267 to Rs.335 and in the rubber industry from Rs.312 to Rs.381.
“Yes, we agreed to the hike but we also laid down that it had to be staggered over three-four years. It would be related to the price of the produce. We will certainly honour the hike. But we need time,” said Viyaraghavan. (IANS)