Stir for wage hike by tea workers soon

The CPI-ML general secretary and working president of the All West Bengal Tea Garden Labour Union, Mr Kanu Sanyal has alleged that the management of the Pahargumia Tea Estate was conspiring to lockout the plantation. “The winter season is a lean period for the tea industry. Taking advantage of the situation, the Pahargumia management is planning to lockout the plantation under any pretext,” Mr Sanyal alleged.

According to him, despite a peaceful situation in the plantation, the workers’ union affiliated to the AWBTGLU is being held responsible for an imaginary trouble in the estate, so to workout an excuse for the lockout. “The workers’ unions affiliated to the CPI-M and Congress are working hand-in-glove with the estate management in this conspiracy,” Mr Sanyal alleged.

Making it clear that the AWBTGLU was determined to foil the conspiracy, the Naxalite leader said, they would soon serve the Pahargumia management a memorandum on the issue.

On the other hand, demanding a wage hike for the workers, the AWBTGLU has resolved to launch a 10-day long agitation in Siliguri beginning next week. The agitation, to be carried out by workers of tea estates here, would be held at the Siliguri SDO office premise.

“In 2000, the Minimum Wages Act 1948 was shelved under the consideration that it would be increased in every three years. The arrangement was violated and instead of the scheduled hike in 2003, the same was materialised in 2005.” “Going by that, another wage hike is scheduled by April 2008, but no activities either on the part of the plantations management or the government, are visible till now,” Mr Sanyal alleged.

“The AWBTGLU would also resort to rail and road blockades and the movement would continue till wages are raised,” Mr Sanyal warned.

Source: The Statesman