Millennium Post

Tea unions set to hold mammoth rally today as talks on bonus hike fail

Darjeeling: With talks on bonus for the Darjeeling tea industry failing on Monday, the Joint Forum of Tea Unions will be organising a mammoth rally at the Darjeeling Motor Stand in demand of 20 percent bonus on Wednesday.

They have appealed to all tea garden workers to join in the rally, sacrificing the day's work and have demanded intervention of the state government as well. The Joint Forum will be announcing future programmes from the rally on Wednesday.

Bharat Thakuri of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union said: "In the meeting on Monday we insisted on 20 percent bonus. After multiple rounds, the management remained adamant on 10.50 percent bonus and instead told us to be flexible and leave some space open for negotiations. We agreed to 19.50 percent but they made it clear that they preferred to stick to 10.50 percent. The meeting ended in a stalemate."

The Joint Forum stated that with the present high cost of living, 10.50 percent bonus is not at all feasible. "In Terai and Dooars gardens are getting 18.5 percent. Why is the figure so less in the Hills?" questioned Thakuri.

The forum has presented memorandums to the District Magistrate, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Superintendent of Police and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in this connection.

"In the memorandums we have requested the intervention of the state government," stated Thakuri.

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