Tea Warehouse strike threat

Siliguri Tea Warehouse Association today staged a token strike to protest against the suspension of one of its members and threatened to launch an indefinite agitation from Monday if the decision is not revoked.

The decision to suspend the warehouse was taken by the warehousing advisory body (WAB), a sub-committee of the Siliguri tea auction committee (Stac). Following an inspection on September 3, the advisory body had felt that S.M. Tea Warehouse had failed to meet the hygiene and handling standards set by the tea auction committee.

The suspension came into force on October 16.

“The WAB is an advisory body and does not have the right to issue suspension notices,” said Nand Kishore Agarwal, the president of the warehouse association. “In any case, we feel the step taken is extreme. The members of the advisory body may have found some irregularities at the warehouse, but that does not mean they suspend it.”

Agarwal added: “If the auction center does not revoke the suspension order, we will go on an indefinite strike from Monday.”

Today’s strike did not have a major effect, but an indefinite agitation is likely to disrupt tea movement and throw the auction schedule in disarray.

Stac chairman S.K. Saria said the auction center's governing body had authorized the warehousing advisory body to initiate measures against warehouses. “S.M. Tea Warehouse was given a chance to explain and the decision to suspend it was taken after considering the explanations,” Saria added.

Secretary, Siliguri Tea Traders Association, alleged that warehouses here do not store tea bags under hygienic conditions and often mishandle them.

Source: The Telegraph