Merger in tea protest plan

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Jalpaiguri
  • Published 8.05.05
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Jalpaiguri, May 8: The leaders of West Bengal Cha Mazdoor Sabha (WBCMS), affiliated to the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), have come up with a new strategy to pressure the planters with their demands. They have decided to rope in tea transport workers in their protest.

WBCMS leaders have decided to ask the transport workers in India and abroad to stop transporting tea as long as the planters did not fulfil the workers? demands.

Sources said once the transport workers join the trade union in the movement, export of tea is bound to be hit, which in turn will pressure the authorities to listen to their demand for wage revision.

?Neither, the planters nor the government has taken any initiative to redress the grievances, including revision of the wage scale, of the 3 lakh-odd tea workers. So, we have decided on this new plan,? said Samir Roy, the WBCMS state secretary at a news conference here today. Roy said they plan to rope in International Transport Workers? Federation (ITWF), an international body of transport workers.

?We will tell them about the apathy of the planters and the government towards us. We will request them to stop transporting Indian tea to pressure the planters,? he added.

A tea industry source said Omramal Purohit, the secretary of HMS, and the president of the ITWF, spearheaded the movement.

Purohit, who was present at today?s meet, said such a step would help them attract international attention. ?ILO convened a meet on tea in Delhi last month, thanks to our initiatives. We have to take such a decision to help the labourers,? he said.

The HMS confirmed yesterday?s decision to start their protest in tea gardens from June 6, followed by a strike on June 20 and an indefinite strike from July 11.