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Tea union plea to finalise workers' pay

The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the largest trade union of the tea garden workers of the state, on Friday demanded that the state government expedite the process of finalising the minimum wage for the tea garden workers.

By RAJIV KONWAR in Guwahati
  • Published 7.07.18
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A woman plucks leaves in a tea garden in Assam

Guwahati: The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the largest trade union of the tea garden workers of the state, on Friday demanded that the state government expedite the process of finalising the minimum wage for the tea garden workers.

The demand came two days after an order from governor Jagdish Mukhi, which said the Assam government would immediately notify an interim enhancement of wages of the plantation workers, payable by the employers of the tea gardens, by a minimum amount of Rs 30 per day with retrospective effect from March 1 till finalisation of the revised minimum wages.

ACMS president Paban Singh Ghatowar said the state government should fix the minimum wage without delay as the revision of salary in the tea gardens of the state is counted from January.

"The government will also have to spare two months from the date of publishing a draft notification on minimum wage to resolve the objections of the tea garden owners, if they have any, before publishing the final notification. Already half the year has gone," Ghatowar said.

The tea industry has been paying Rs 137 as daily wages to its workers. A meeting of the minimum wages advisory board for tea workers, in March this year, had decided to fix the minimum wages for tea garden workers at Rs 351. The amount will be included in both cash and kind.

On the other hand, a joint platform of eight organisations, representing the tea garden community, on Friday strongly opposed the decision of paying interim enhancement instead of revising the minimum wage immediately. The committee demanded that the government increase the minimum wage to Rs 351 without delay.

The Assam government had, for the first time, formed an advisory board last year to fix minimum wages of tea workers. The board is headed by labour and tea tribes welfare minister Pallab Lochan Das and comprises secretaries of the labour welfare, finance, industry and commerce and food and civil supplies departments, besides five representatives from tea companies and four from the workers' unions.