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Short course on tea conflict

The IIPM centre in Jorhat

Jorhat, Jan. 12: The rise in incidents of labour-management conflict in tea gardens of Assam has prompted the Jorhat centre of the Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM) to launch a short-term professional certificate course on labour management and industrial relations.

The Bangalore-based institute is an autonomous organisation promoted by the Union ministry of commerce and industry and the Tea, Coffee, Spices and Rubber Boards of India.

The 25-day course, which will begin from January 27, has been especially designed for aspiring tea estate executives to tackle labour problems.

The faculty will include experienced tea industry professionals and leaders of various tea unions.

The in-charge of the institute’s Jorhat centre, Rangan Bhuyan, told this correspondent that the short-duration course had been tailor-made to deal with current problems with respect to labour-management ties in tea gardens.

In the past few years, labour-management relations have been strained. “Taking into account the rise in labour unrest leading to attack on garden executives, some of whom have been killed, IIPM has decided to launch such a course,” Bhuyan said.

To prepare the course curriculum, seminars were held with tea industry people and discussions were held with labour union representatives, he said.

Faculty from the institute’s Bangalore campus, who have done studies in labour management, grievance handling, negotiating and conflict resolution, will take classes along with experienced tea planters and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha leaders. The programme includes field trips to different tea gardens and factories.

According to sources in the Assam government’s industry department and the Tea Board, there are around 300 vacancies for the post of labour welfare officers in various tea estates of the Northeast, Bhuyan said.

Hence, such a course can be useful for those seeking jobs, as the Tea Board had asked the industry to fill up the posts at the earliest, he said.

The Thengal Kachari Autonomous Council has agreed to sponsor 15 candidates, who will be selected by the council, for the proposed course, Bhuyan said. The remaining 10 seats will be left open.

A graduate in any stream is eligible to apply. The course fee is Rs 20,000 per candidate. However, for ST and SC candidates there will be 50 per cent concession on the fees.

In November, the centre had organised a 15-day Professional Certificate Course on Tea Tasting and Marketing — merging two sections of the tea business. Bhuyan said most of the 22 candidates have got jobs in well-known tea broker firms and gardens owned by reputed companies.

He said two batches of students who had enrolled in the 15-day tea estate management course conducted in 2011 and again last year had also been absorbed as executives in well-known tea companies.