Sunday wages to tea workers
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, February 23: The Gauhati High Court has stayed an order by the Assam government directing tea companies to pay wages for Sundays (non-working day) to tea workers.
The commissioner and secretary of the State’s Labour and Employment department had on December 11 last year, issued a notification to this effect.
It was notified that the unskilled daily rated workers employed in tea plantations in the State will be entitled to the same wages for the rest day in a week as paid for the working days.
However, the Indian Tea Association, the body of tea companies, challenged the notification at the Gauhati High Court, contesting its legal validity.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that the notification was not “sustaible” because the Assam government did not follow the required procedure – as stated in the Minimum Wages Act – before issuing it. The government had not discussed the matter with the tea companies before taking the decision.
Moreover, the petitioners argued that the Chetia Committee constituted by the State government in 1952 had worked out the method of payment of minimum wages to unskilled daily rated labourers in such a way that it included the wages for the rest day. “These facts were not considered before issuing the notification,” the petitioner told the court.
The HC bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan said that there was a prima facie case for a stay of the notification. The court has fixed April 20 as the next date for hearing.