By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 7: All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) has strongly condemned the Consultative Committee for Planters’ Association (CCPA) and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangh (ACMS) for negotiating the minimum wage for tea garden workers of Assam. For nearly 12 months, AASAA along with thousands of garden workers have been actively demanding for a daily wage of Rs.330 based on Indian labour norms. However, the State Government, the CCPA and ACMS have again betrayed the workers who are the backbone of the State’s economy, AASAA general secretary Joseph Minz said.
Despite a statement by the Chief Minister of Assam in January of this year that the legal Minimum Wage for tea garden workers was Rs 169, the Government has not issued the notification to that effect.
“ACMS and CCPA are resorting to “high-drama tactics” at the negotiation table by unlawfully monetizing in-kind payment of benefits such as education as part of wage. By doing so, they are violating the constitutiol and statutory rights of the workers. Laws like the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 and the Right to Education require that education benefits be provided free of cost,” Minz said.
The AASAA has appealed to the AASU, ABSU, AJYCP, KMSS and other frontline organisations and Assamese intelligentsia to place pressure on the Government and the tea industry to ensure that the Minimum Wage is paid. “Assam will progress only if the tea garden workers are ensured their due rights and benefits,” it said.