Orange Valley tea workers to obey order

Darjeeling: Labourers of Orange Valley tea garden have agreed not to go to work from tomorrow.

The management declared suspension of work at the garden on April 30 following an agitation by workers after Sukbir Rai, a dafadar (supervisor), committed suicide. The labourers, however, decided not to obey the order and worked till yesterday.

According to a source, at a meeting with union leaders yesterday, Darjeeling police told the workers that their decision to disregard the suspension notice might amount to trespassing into other’s property. Senior leaders today held a meeting at the garden where the workers decided to take cognisance of the notice issued by the management.

“Everyone has agreed not to go to work from tomorrow until a meeting is held at the assistant labour commissioner’s office here on May 10,” said A.R. Dewan, the GNLF leader from the area.

The labourers, however, have demanded that they be paid for working on the days the “garden has been closed since April 30”. “They have also demanded that the administration should conduct an inquiry into the death of Rai and that his dues be cleared as soon as possible,” said Dewan.

The management is looking at the development as a positive sign. “The Darjeeling police have played an important role in convincing the workers. The workers’ decision to abide by our notice may lead to an amicable settlement,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, the secretary of Darjeeling Tea Association.

Beech set to reopen

Following a tripartite meeting at the deputy labour commissioner’s office in Jalpaiguri yesterday, the Beech tea estate in Kalchini will reopen tomorrow.

The 2,100 labourers of the garden will resume work after a gap of 24 days. The garden was shut down after the management left the estate following an altercation with the workers over rationalisation of workforce.

Source: The Telegraph