Tea unions to launch agitation on minimum wage demand
Darjeeling: A conglomeration of tea trade unions have decided to launch an agitation from Monday with the demand for the implementation of minimum wages act in the tea
gardens along with other
issues pertaining to the tea industry.
"Minimum wages has been a long standing demand of the tea gardens. A committee was constituted by the Government to look into this. The committee last met on December 13, 2018 and declared it as the final meeting. However minimum wages has not been implemented in the gardens. We demand the immediate implementation of this Act" said JB Tamang, convenor, hill sub-committee of the Joint Forum.
On Monday, the hill sub-committee of the Joint Forum (a conglomeration of 6 trade unions) will launch an agitation.
"On Monday we will hold dharnas and submit memorandums at the Darjeeling Tea Association, Labour department, Provident Fund office. From Tuesday we will hold gate meetings in all the tea gardens in the Hills" added Tamang.
At present, the tea garden workers receive a daily wage of Rs 176. The list of demands also includes land documents (Patta) for tea garden workers.
"The recently concluded elections saw political parties promising patta for tea garden workers. Irrespective of whether they have won or lost they should work to fulfill their commitment. We will meet the newly elected MP and MLA of Darjeeling in this regard," stated Tamang, who is a Himalayan Plantation Workers' Union (HPWU- affiliated to the GNLF) leader.
He stated that the Joint Forum will continue agitation in demand of land right documents for the tea garden workers.
Tamang talked of anomalies in the PF and gratuity as well. "The Bansal group has 14 tea gardens in the Hills. 318 of the workers have retired but have not yet received gratuity. They are having problems with their provident fund and pension also. These issues need to be addressed immediately," Tamang said.