The Telegraph
Saturday , October 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bonus cloud clears, 2 gardens to reopen

Siliguri, Oct. 12: Two tea gardens in Jalpaiguri district that had been shut since Monday after workers demanded bonus at the rate of 20 per cent will reopen tomorrow.

While the management and workers of Samsing Tea Estate have agreed to a bonus of 14.5 per cent, Bamandanga-Tondu would pay bonus at 10 per cent.

The impasse on Grassmore Tea Estate, also in Jalpaiguri district, ended with an agreement being reached on the payment of bonus at 16 per cent .

According to sources a meeting was held between the workers and the management of Samsing tea garden yesterday and the labourers agreed to 14.5 per cent bonus.

“Yesterday’s bipartite meeting was fruitful as the workers agreed to bonus at the rate of 14.5 per cent, which was decided earlier (according to an agreement on September 30),” said Amitangshu Chakraborty, the principal advisor to the Indian Tea Planters’ Association.

“The matter has been conveyed to the state labour department,” he added.

Md Rizwan, the Joint Labour Commissioner of Siliguri, said he had received a copy of the agreement.

“Samsing will reopen tomorrow and the bonus would be paid soon,” he said.

The garden has 1,457 workers.

The deadlock in Bamandanga-Tondu tea garden, where the workers were demanding bonus at the rate of 20 per cent ended today after two meetings.

“We had convened a meeting here this morning where the management and the trade union representatives were present. The workers agreed to a bonus of 10 per cent but asked for wages from October 8 onwards when the management had announced suspension of work,” Md Rizwan said. “The management made it clear to the unions that after a suspension notice, workers are not entitled to wages till the reopening of the garden.” He added that this led to disagreements and the meeting ended without any results.

The second round of talks held this evening was fruitful.

“We could break the deadlock. A consensus has been reached. The garden will reopen tomorrow and the management will pay bonus at the rate of 10 per cent rate. The amount would be paid by October 19,” Md Rizwan said.

The Dooars garden has 1,156 workers.

Disagreement on the bonus issue in Grassmore tea estate ended after a bipartite meeting yesterday.

The workers of the garden were demanding bonus at 20 per cent earlier but after the meeting, they have agreed to 16 per cent.

“It is good that the workers have realised our financial incapacity and have agreed to bonus at 16 per cent,” said Rupak Deb, a management representative. “We will disburse the bonus tomorrow,” he said.