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Supreme Court Halts Wage Increase for Plantation Workers

The Supreme Court has issued an interim injunction preventing the implementation of a Gazette notification issued by the Labour Minister to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,700.

This order was issued in response to an appeal petition filed by plantation companies, including Agarapathana Plantations Ltd, against the Gazette that imposed a minimum wage for plantation workers. The three-member Supreme Court bench, consisting of Justices Gamini Amarasekara, Kumuduni Wickramasinghe, and Janak de Silva, issued the order.

The judgment states that this interim order will remain in force until the hearing of the petition is concluded. The petition is scheduled for further hearing on August 28.

The petition was filed by 21 plantation companies, including Agarapatana Plantations Ltd, naming 52 respondents, including Minister of Labor Manusha Nanayakkara and the Labor Commissioner.

The plantation companies argue that the Labour Minister’s decision to set the minimum daily wage at Rs. 1,350, with additional allowances of Rs. 300 and Rs. 80, was made without consulting them, thus violating the legal principle of natural justice.

The petitioners seek an order invalidating the decision, claiming it was made arbitrarily by the government.

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