Saili tea garden at Metli block in Dooars reopened on Monday morning after remaining closed for around 40 days.
The decision to reopen the tea garden was taken in a tripartite meeting held at Labour Department’s office on January 28. Representatives of the garden owner, laborers and district administration were present there.
Around 1,100 workers have got back their job with the reopening of the garden, which was closed on December 21 following a dispute over payment of Durga Puja bonus of 2015. It was settled that the workers will be getting 20 per cent of their monthly payment as bonus for Durga Puja. The workers had agreed when the company told that 15 per cent will be given before the puja and the workers will be getting the rest 5 per cent before Christmas.
The situation turned worse when the company delayed in paying the bonus in December and informed the workers that they will get the payment ahead of Holi in 2016. In the same notice, it was announced that the workers will get puja bonus of 8.33 per cent of their monthly payment in 2016. It had led to several untoward incidents in the tea garden.
A section of workers had beaten up officials of the tea garden and it had led to unrest in the area which led to the closure the tea garden. The officials had left the place on December 20 and the workers found a closure notice pasted on the gate.
After a few days, the district administration had arranged a tripartite meeting. In the meeting the company had agreed to clear the dues before Holi.
Both the representatives of the owner and the workers accepted the proposals and the tea garden once again re-opened. Most of the workers joined their work and some will be joining on Tuesday.
A worker of Saili tea garden said, “I am extremely happy. I expect that rest of the closed tea gardens in the region should also reopen as early as possible. The economy of the region will once again develop and there will be no more deaths due to lack of food or treatment.”