Plantation workers cry foul over the work continuation despite Covid-19 warning

Plantation workers cry foul over the work continuation despite Covid-19 warning

26 March 2020 05:53 pm

At a time where all the public and private sector activities being halted to prevent the spread of corona virus, plantation sector workers have been forced to continue their work even during curfew periods.

This action was taken by plantation companies putting thousands of workers under severe health risk giving a wrong interpretation to the directive issued by Presidential secretary P.B. Jayasundera to continue Sri Lanka export oriented manufacturing enterprises.

Amidst the measures taken by the government to mitigate the impact of Covid -19 outbreaks in the island, Presidential secretary has issued this directive to ensure that the economic functions of the country should continue to be undertaken unabated.

Several plantation companies are continuing their operations considering it as essential export oriented industry trade unions said alleging that foreign buyers will not buy Sri Lankan teas it is now classified as Covid -19 affected country of origin.

However they noted that the quantity of tea produced at present will have to be used for local consumption.

Allowing the workers to work in tea plantations and factories will lead to severe threat of spreading the deadly disease if a single worker is infected by the virus, President of the Up country Brotherhood Movement Muniyandi  Kalidas said.

Exposing of plantation workers to the society will become an obstacle to the government’s corona virus prevention programme he added.

A plantation company official said that necessary plant protection measures through spraying of pest repellents to tea bushes and irrigation are essential.

In the absence of such measures, there will be permanent damage to the tea bushes, which will aggravate losses of production and productivity, he added.  

Therefore it is necessary for executives, staff and workers to work in such operations during the period of closure as announced by the government he claimed.