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Tripartite meeting over tea industry bonus deadlock fails to bear fruit

Tripartite meeting over tea industry bonus deadlock fails to bear fruit

Darjeeling: The tripartite meeting in Kolkata over the Darjeeling tea industry bonus issue remained inconclusive on Monday. Binay Tamang, president, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has threatened to launch a fast until death from October 6, if the management does not show flexibility and resolve the issue by October 4.

The trade union representatives staged a walkout with the management not agreeing to climb up above 15 percent bonus, while the unions stated that they were willing to negotiate to 19 percent. The next date of meeting has been fixed on October 19.

"We staged a walkout. Some of the gardens even stated that they will pay 15 percent bonus now and will pay the remaining part later (after a settlement is reached in future meetings). We appeal to workers not to accept this as they are trying to break the unity of the workers," stated Amar Lama, trade union leader.

The previously announced agitation programmes by the staff in the garden offices will resume from Tuesday, added Lama.

"The management does not want to listen to the government either. They have started behaving like feudal lords of the tea gardens. This is a clear example of labourer exploitation. If the management remains adamant in their stand and fails to resolve the issue amicably by October 4, I will launch a fast until death from October 6. The management will be to blame for the consequences," threatened Tamang.

State Labour minister Moloy Ghatak had chaired the meeting. "It is very unfortunate that the issue could not be resolved amicably," stated Sandeep Mukherjee, principal advisor, Darjeeling Tea Association, representing the management.

Five earlier rounds of talks between the management and operating tea trade unions have already failed in Darjeeling. The tea trade unions had subsequently asked the state government to intervene, to resolve the stalemate.

Amitava Banerjee

Amitava Banerjee

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