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Workers union bats for hiked wages for tea workers

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 Dec 2015 12:00 AM GMT

SPEACIAL CORRESPONDENT

SILCHAR, Dec 1: Asom Mojuri Shramik Union (AMSU), affiliated to the New Trade Union Initiative, New Delhi, has strongly pleaded in a memorandum to the Chief Minister submitted through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar for taking immediate steps to pressure the tea gardens of the state to pay hiked wages to the workers. In order to highlight the issue, the Union has gone for demonstration across the state today, besides submitting the representation. It is to be mentioned that the minimum wage for tea workers of Assam has been fixed at Rs.177.19 vide notification no. GLR (RC) 178/2014/179-A July 29, 2015.

This notification has been issued by the Government of Assam. After deductions of wages being paid by the employers in other forms, the minimum wage in cash becomes Rs.143.50 as per the calculation showed in the said notification. A time period of 2 months was given for filing any objection or suggestion which has elapsed. Due consultation in this regard was held in a meeting of the Wage Board.

The Union, pointed out Mril Kanti Shome, president, has been accepted the minimum wage as fixed in the notification. But, the tea garden owners and magement have been flouting it and taking recourse to all possible means to avoid the hike to Rs.177.19. The demand has been raised for minimum monthly wage of Rs.15, 000 for all workers on all India basis. Under these circumstances, government should intervene in the dilly dallying tactics of the employers by initiating appropriate measures to prevent any attempt to keep the matter under sub-judice. It should not hesitate to take firm and stern legal action in order to ensure immediate implementation of the wage hike for the tea workers of Assam.

It is most unfortute that provisions of Plantation Labour Act of 1948 have never been implemented in any tea estate of Assam. PLA makes it clear that the tea workers should be provided with basic necessities of life. This includes housing facility, 4 katha of land to each of the tea worker’s family. Besides, they have to be provided minimum required health care services, education and drinking water. The labour unions which champion themselves to fight for the deprived and discrimited workers are never united for the cause. It is also alleged that some unions enter into understanding with the magement either politically motivated or for their own selfish interests.

The owner – magement takes full advantage of it and continues to exploit the workers. Moreover, till date, the disparity existing in the wages of tea workers of Brahmaputra and Barak Valley has not been removed and there seems to be no possibility of it, said Mril Kanti Shome. The demonstration by members and supporters of the Union was staged under the statue of Khudiram Bose today which was addressed by Dharitri Sharma, secretary, and Mas Das, president, Assam state council of New Trade Union Initiative, besides Mril Kanti Shome.

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