By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 3: The All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam (AASAA) has strongly condemned the role of Assam Government on the issue of increment of minimum wages for the tea workers of Assam.
Joseph Minz, general secretary of the organization, said the AASAA has decided to go for massive and strong agitation programme against the CCPA – the Consultative Committee of Planters Association - the joint body of employers’ association like Indian Tea Association (ITA), Tea Association of India (TAI), Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP), Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA),North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and State Government if they fail to provide or come to an agreement on minimum wage for the tea workers of Assam by April 6.
“It is the State Government which has mortgaged the tea workers to the big tea companies and it is not taking any steps to increase the wages for the tea workers. They are the same big tea companies which are having tea gardens in South India and West Bengal. Then what is the conspiracy in giving a daily wage of Rs. 94 only in Assam and Rs. 254 in Kerala.
“It is tragic and surprising that the State government is not taking any initiative in implementing the Minimum Wage Act 1948 in tea gardens,” Minz said.
He said the AASAA also condemned the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) for its “dubious activities”.
“The ACMS has so long worked more for the tea companies than for the welfare of the tea workers. The ACMS has been siphoning off money even from the minimum amount that the workers received as wages. The persons who have represented ACMS - like Paban Singh Ghatwar, Bhimanda Tanti, Dileswar Tanti, RP Singh, Raju Sahu and others – are responsible for the sorry plight of the workers,” the AASAA said.
The AASAA will go for mass agitatiol programmes like road blockades, rail blockades, blockade of transportation of finished tea products from tea gardens, burning the effigies of tea companies like Tata Tea Ltd, Williamson Magor, Assam Tea Company, McLeod Russel, Goodricke Group, Russell Tea Ltd., Andrew Yule, Dhunseri Group etc, State Government and ACMS for their “anti workers policy”.
The AASAA also threatened to mobilise tea workers and people of all walks of life related to tea gardens for a total Tea Garden strike in Assam.
“The AASAA will also approach relevant UN bodies, including ILO & tiol/Intertiol Court of Justice to take up the issues of tea garden labourers. We will also lodge complaint against the tea companies for violation of Minimum Wages Act with the tiol and intertiol grievance redressal mechanisms. We also plan to intensify a world-wide campaign through media (print, electronic, internet - Facebook, Twitter, www. change. org, www. avaaz.org and other relevant networks to expose the exploitation meted out towards the tea garden workers by the State Government and the tea companies,” the organization stated.
Hunger strike by KMSS
By Our Staff Reporter
April 3: The hunger strike staged by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS)
in front of the office of the labour commissioner located at Sarabhatti
entered the second day today. The KMSS is demanding a daily wag of Rs
169 for the tea garden workers, besides Sunday wages.