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20% bonus for Terai & Dooars tea gardens

Darjeeling: The bonus issue for the accounting year 2019-20 for tea garden workers of Terai and Dooars gardens was resolved in a record time on Friday. A virtual meeting between the Management and operating trade unions resolved that the bonus for the Terai and Dooars garden will be disbursed at 20 per cent.

A virtual meeting will be held to decide on the bonus percentage for the Darjeeling Hill tea gardens on Saturday at 2pm.

On Friday within an hour of the commencement of the virtual meeting both sides agreed on the 20 per cent and the agreement was then inked.

'The 20per cent bonus percentage was decided for 186 tea gardens of Terai and Dooars to be disbursed to 3 lakh 25 thousand workforce. The gardens are located in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and plains of Darjeeling district.

"The meeting resolved on a 20per cent bonus to be paid in full, latest by October 7, 2020," stated Prabir Bhattacharjee, Secretary General, Tea Association of India. Calculation of bonus entitlement ceiling has been increased to Rs. 14,500.

The bonus percentage has increased by 1.5 per cent this time. Demand for 20 per cent bonus had been tabled by the unions. In the first meeting the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association (CCPA) representing the management had proposed an 18% bonus. The unions had disagreed to this.

"We thank the management for the speedy decision. The market for tea is good so there was not much scope of disagreeing with the demand for a 20 per cent bonus. 3.5 lakh workers are the backbone behind this industry" stated Mohan Sharma, State President of the TMC affiliated tea garden union.

Last year, while there were 68 tea gardens, declared as sick, this year the number has come down to 39. These gardens will pay 1.5 percentage more bonus than what they had paid last year. Saylee and Naya Saylee tea gardens will pay 15.5 per cent as agreed in the meeting.

"The 20 per cent of bonus was achieved through the collective role of all 37 trade unions," stated Ziaul Alam, Spokesperson, of Joint Forum of Tea Trade

Unions.

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