Millennium Post

Remaining part of bonus to be paid by Dec 22 to the Hill tea workers

Remaining part of bonus to be paid by Dec 22 to the Hill tea workers

Darjeeling: A tripartite meeting in Kolkata resolved that the management of the Hill tea gardens will have to pay the remaining part of the bonus to the workers by December 22. The meeting was chaired by state Labour minister Moloy Ghatak.

The meeting between trade union representatives, management representatives and the state government was held at the new Secretariat building in Kolkata on Friday.

Incidentally, a meeting had been held on October 11 that had resolved to pay 20 percent bonus to the tea garden workers. 60 percent of the bonus amount would be paid within 10 days of the signing of the agreement. It was further resolved that another round of meetings would be held in November to decide on the date for disbursing the remaining 40 percent. In Friday's meeting, the Planters Association submitted that in the meeting held on October 11, 2019, the government had recognised the financial crisis of the tea industry in the Hills since 2017-18.

The employers' representatives also explained the difficulty arising out of low flow in cash. They requested that since 12 percent of the bonus has already been disbursed as agreed upon, the tea garden managements require sufficient time to mobilise funds for payment of the balance amount of bonus — ex gratia and accordingly they proposed to pay the residual part of bonus for 2018-19 within March 31, 2020. All the trade union representatives unanimously demanded that the balance amount should be paid before December 31, 2019.

After detailed discussion, December 22 has been decided as the final date for payment.

Bharat Thakuri, general secretary of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union stated that GJM president Binoy Tamang had met Moloy Ghatak and Aroop Biswas on Thursday and demanded that the remaining part of the bonus be paid within Christmas.

Amitava Banerjee

Amitava Banerjee

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