Garden stir threat

Read more below

By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Siliguri
  • Published 7.05.05
  •  

Siliguri, May 7: Over three lakh permanent and casual tea garden workers of north Bengal today threatened to go on an indefinite strike from July 11.

The focus of the agitation is the workers’ demand for an immediate revision of wages. The last wage revision agreement expired more than two years ago. Tripartite meetings fell flat last year with managements linking wages with productivity and workers opposing the move vehemently.

Today, leaders of the Coordination Committee of Plantation Workers, an umbrella body of tea trade unions in north Bengal, decided to launch a string of protests on June 6.

?In the past two years, since the last wage agreement expired, the condition of workers has gone from bad to worse,? said Chitta Dey, the convenor of the organisation. ?The management is violating the Plantation Labour Act, the Industrial Disputes Act and every other law that is binding upon them to protect the interests of workers.?

As part of their protest against worsening conditions, workers will stage demonstrations at their gardens from June 6-11, after work.

From June 13-18, the protests will be held before work. ?If our demonstrations go unheeded, we will go for a token strike on June 20,? Dey said. ?If that also fails, we will launch an indefinite strike in all tea gardens of the four tea-producing north Bengal districts from July 11.?

Dey said the tea trade unions are seeking the co-operation of the public to hold a general strike on July 11.