Tea workers in Assam to get incentive

The Assam tea industry has revised the incentives for tea-leaf plucking for workers in Brahmaputra Valley. The decision came just a couple of months after wage revision of tea garden workers by the industry.

The decision was arrived at a meeting between representatives of the tea industry from Indian Tea Association (ITA), Tea Association of India (TAI), Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP), Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) and North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) in Dibrugarh in Upper Assam.

At the meeting it was agreed that minimum plucking task during ‘ticca’ period (which is generally from June to October) would be revised from 21 kgs to 23 kgs per day from the upcoming season.

The incentive for extra leaf plucking, for output above minimum task of 23 kgs, was enhanced in two slabs, with a view to affectiing improvement in productivity. First, anything plucked extra than 23 kgs to average output of the garden would be paid 55 paise per kg. And, anything plucked above the average output of the garden would be paid Re. 1 per kg.

Average output of the garden is arrived at by dividing green leaf harvest during ticca period of last three consecutive year by man-day’s deployed for plucking during the same period.

It was also decided at the meeting to revise the additional compensation for factory workers to Rs. 3 per day with effect from ‘ticca’ period commencing from plucking season of 2010.

ACMS had been demanding revision of the plucking rates applicable to daily rated workers engaged in plucking in tea estates in Brahmaputra Valley, the last revision having been affected on March 27, 1993.

Tea industry sources present at the meeting told Business Standard that the issue of improvement of productivity was discussed at length, and after protracted discussions the settlement of revision of incentives was reached.

Sources said that the employers’ association expressed concern at the growing trend of absenteeism of permanent workers and discussed ways and means with ACMS to curb the trend. ACMS, the workers association, agreed to co-operate with the garden managements in their effort to reduce absenteeism.

In February this year the Assam tea industry had increased tea wages for workers of Brahmaputra Valley by Rs. 18 in three phases and with retrospective effect from January 1 this year.

Source: Business Standard