Governor notifies draft proposal, seeks objections, suggestions
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 31: Notwithstanding opposition from the industry, the Assam government has proposed to hike minimum wages of tea workers to Rs 143.50.
The draft proposal has been issued in the form of a notification by the Governor on July 29.
The State Minimum Wages Board will receive objections and suggestion on the proposal up to 60 days from publication of the draft proposal, the notification said. The wages will be fixed after considering the suggestions and complaints.
As per the notification, while the cash component is Rs 143.50, the statutory and non-statutory benefits add up to Rs 177.19 per day. The non-statutory benefits include subsidized ration (Rs 14.20 per day), dry tea (Rs 2.16 per day) and firewood (Rs 5.74 per day). The statutory benefits include earned leave (Rs 7.73) and festival holidays (Rs 3.86 per day).
Strangely, the draft proposal did not consider some facilities provided by tea garden magements like education, housing and bonus.
Earlier, the Consultative Committee of Planters Association (CCPA) and Assam Chah Majdoor Sangha (ACMS) had on February 26 inked a bilateral agreement, effecting a hike in the wages of daily laboures in tea gardens. According to the three-year agreement, the wages with effect from January 1 this year will be Rs 115. It will be raised to Rs 126 with effect from January 1 next year and then to Rs 137 in the third year. The wages as per the previous agreement was Rs 94.
The State government, however, did not ratify the agreement this time though it had been traditiolly endorsing the wages negotiated between the companies and workers union in the past. Instead, it formed the minimum wages board.