July 1 meet for wage revision

Siliguri, June 20: Tea garden workers have insisted on major changes in the existing wage structure and mode of payment, which includes a hike of almost 100 per cent.

In their 18-point charter placed before the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations, an organisation of planters, and the Bengal government, trade unions in the tea industry have insisted on conversion of the daily wage system to monthly payments for permanent workers.

The Bengal labour department has invited planters and trade union leaders to discuss the revision of wages and salaries of more than three lakh tea workers at a tripartite meeting in Calcutta on July 1.

The last three-year-old agreement expired on March 31 this year.

Leaders of the Coordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers, an apex body representing trade unions like the Citu, Intuc and Himalayan Plantation Workers’ Union, will be present at the meeting.

“Unlike the Rs 53.90 paid to field workers and Rs 58.40 to factory workers on a daily basis after a week or a fortnight, we want them to get monthly salaries,” said Chitta Dey, convener of the Coordination Committee. “The minimum monthly salaries that we have proposed are Rs 3,120 and Rs 3,400 for field and factory workers respectively.”

For temporary workers, who also earn Rs 53.90 a day, trade unions have proposed a hike of Rs 120 per day for field workers and Rs 130 in factories.

The other demands include revised pay scales for technicians, clerical and medical staff. “Those who need to operate computers or are in hazardous jobs should be given an allowance of 25 per cent on their salaries. Plus a variable dearness allowance at the rate of one per cent per point of rise in the All India Consumer Price Index should be paid to the workers,” Dey said. “We also suggested promotion of women, who are mostly pluckers, to supervisory posts.”


Anonymous said...

I very much agree with the 18-point charter placed before the Consultative Committee. The demand of the garden workers are extremely genuine keeping in view the present price index increase. How can a worker with daily wages of Rs.53.90 per day could survive with his family? They are the lowest paid garden workers in terms of Govt. of India Labour payment rule wherein the minimum wages being paid to a labour is categorised. The Govt of West Bengal and all authorities concerned must look into their demands sympathetically and given due benefit to them.