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Binay Tamang to sit on fast unto death to resolve bonus impasse

Darjeeling: With the bonus issue yet to be resolved Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Binay Tamang will be sitting on a fast unto death from October 6 in Darjeeling. The 12-hour long Darjeeling Kalimpong Hill bandh on Friday was total. Even the workers of the Hill tea gardens stayed away from work thus halting production.

Incidentally a series of meetings in Darjeeling and a tripartite meeting in Kolkata has failed to resolve the tea garden bonus impasse. While the trade unions have demanded 20 percent bonus the management is not willing to climb up from 15 percent.

All the operating trade unions have jointly lined up a number of agitation programmes and called for a bandh in Darjeeling and Kalimpong on Friday from 4 am to 4 pm along with mass leave by the tea garden workers.

The bandh was total in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills. Shops, business establishments, banks and the post office remained closed. Vehicles remained off the road. Workers did not attend work in the tea gardens.

"The relay hunger strike in Darjeeling town and the gardens will continue till 6 pm Saturday. All the agitation programme, including gate meetings, relay hunger strike, go slow will be postponed from today till after Puja holidays. However, the blockade on dispatch of made tea from the gardens will continue. Our legitimate and logic demand is 20 per cent. There is no more scope of any collective bargaining or negotiation. The next phase of agitation will be much more aggressive. We also welcome Binoy Tamang's decision to sit for a fast unto death," said Saman Pathak, Trade Union leader.

Tamang had issued an ultimatum to the Darjeeling tea Industry that if the bonus issue is not resolved amicably by 4 pm on October 4 then he would sit for a fast unto death. "As the issue is still unresolved I have decided to sit for a fast unto death at the Darjeeling Motor Stand from 10 am on October 6. The tea garden management will be to blame for the consequences," said Binay Tamang.

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