Tea crisis seen cooling

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The meeting between representatives of the plantation companies and the Sri Lankan President today to resolve the crisis over the massive strike in the tea and rubber plantations which is into its fifth day ended inconclusively this morning. The strike has brought the vital tea and rubber industry to a virtual standstill.

The President had insisted at the meeting that the companies should raise the daily wage above the 95 rupees (USD 1.53) which the companies are prepared to pay now.

The representatives of the companies have asked for time until Friday, February 13 to come up with a response.

Sources close to the companies said that the tea producing ones are making profits and are hence prepared to reach a settlement but the rubber producing companies which are not getting good prices for their commodity in the world market are resisting.

But most trade union sources are confident the crisis might be resolved by Friday.

The government is attempting to play a role in this strike that might enhance it political fortunes in the plantation sector which is a key vote bank say trade union officials.

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