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Norm reminder on tea wage talks

Darjeeling, March 7: The apex body of tea producers’ associations in India today almost rejected the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s demand for talks on garden workers’ wage revision, saying the matter could not be discussed with only one union by flouting established norms of the industry.

Members of the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations sat down for a meeting in Calcutta today to discuss the embargo on the first flush of Darjeeling tea by the Morcha to press for the fulfilment of a charter of demands, including hike in the workers’ wages.

Members of the Committee include the Darjeeling Tea Association, Indian Tea Association and Terai Indian Planters’ Association.

The Committee said in a press release after the meeting that there had been a practice of holding parleys with all major trade unions in a composite manner on demands for wage hike and others. “The union (Morcha-affiliated Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union) has departed from these established norms threatening to completely disrupt operations of the Darjeeling tea industry,” said the Committee.

The associations want the Morcha to provide time for negotiations.“Our associations received the charter of demands on March 3 but they again issued a threat of blockade without providing any time for discussions,” Monodeep Dasgupta, the secretary-general of the Committee said over the phone from Calcutta.

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