Sri Lanka, one of the world’s largest exporters of tea, on Monday raised wages for hundreds of thousands of workers by nearly 25 percent as the island heads for a record crop.
Workers will now be paid 515 rupees ($4.70) a day for the next two years, up from 415 rupees, Kanishka Weerasinghe, deputy director general of the Employers Federation of Ceylon, told AFP.
Seven unions, representing over 250,000 plantation workers, had demanded a minimum 500 rupee increment, or an increase of 120 percent, to offset rising living costs.
The island’s tea output is expected to hit a new record high this year, surpassing last year’s production of 329.4 million kilos (724.7 million pounds), the Sri Lanka Tea Board said last month.
Tea output from January to April this year gained two percent to 106.3 million kilos from 104.2 million recorded in the same period last year.
The board tips 2011 revenue from tea to hit a record $1.5 billion compared to $1.4 billion earned in 2010, despite unrest in key export markets of Middle East and North Africa.
Sri Lanka’s inflation slipped to 8.8 percent in May from 9.8 percent in April.