Mujnai Tea Estate co-ordination committee to interact with management

Alipurduar, Feb. 4: Workers of Mujnai Tea Estate have decided to form a co-ordination committee in the garden to interact with the management.

The decision was taken yesterday, keeping in mind the frequent altercations that have been hindering the smooth running of the garden. There have been at least three altercations between the workers and the management since November 1, when the estate opened after 11 months of shutdown.

“At least five persons from every registered trade union would be members of the committee. In case of any dispute, the committee will talk to the manager. It will be formed next week, but on Friday when the garden starts functioning, we will tell the workers to maintain discipline and behave well with the managers,” said Sukha Oraon, the secretary of the garden unit of the Citu-run Cha Bagan Mazdoor Union.

On January 13, a section of workers without wages for a month had forced N.N. Chakroborty, a senior adviser to Mujnai Tea Company, to leave the garden on foot. They forced 70-year-old Chakroborty to walk 5km and then board a bus from Rangalibazna.

Oraon said the January 13 incident had saddened his union. “But at the same time it is also true that the workers had been told that they would get their wages and ration in due time at a tripartite meeting in Calcutta in October. But they did not get the wages for December and it was almost mid-January. This agitated a section of workers and they protested. Unfortunately, none of the union leaders was present at that time.”

The garden will reopen on Friday and the next day, the wages for December would be distributed. “The management has to clear lot of dues. But our only demand is that the workers be given their wages and ration on time. Otherwise, how will the workers lead a normal life,” said Oraon.

Chakroborty said over the phone that only a small portion of workers was creating problems in the garden. “The majority of them are fine. Several of them, especially women, had urged me to open the garden. That is why I attended the meeting at the district magistrate’s office where the deputy labour commissioner was also present. The leaders said in the meeting they were sorry for the incident.”

The manager said running the garden smoothly would be a challenge. “On January 13, I told them to wait for a day for the wage but they refused and forced me to leave the garden.”

From The Telegraph