GUWAHATI: State Minister for Labour Welfare & Tea Tribes Welfare Sanjoy Kishan has said wages for tea workers will be uniform across the country.
Kishan told The Sentinel that the Centre has decided to introduce uniform wages for tea workers in the country. He added that the Centre has already sought views from the State Government on the issue.
"This move of the Central Government will do justice to the tea workers. Uniform wages may be introduced from this year," he said.
On the issue of PF (Provident Fund) for tea workers, Kishan said that even though the managements of many tea gardens are deducting the PF portion from the workers' wages, the same is not deposited with the PF authorities. He also said that the number of such erring gardens were more in the past. "Many gardens have now started depositing PF contributions. But there are still defaulting gardens in Barak Valley and we have already asked them to take corrective steps. Necessary legal actions will be initiated against the defaulting gardens," said the Minister.
Kishan also said that there are 12 lakh tea workers in Assam included under the PF scheme. He said among various components of PF scheme for tea workers the Centre makes its contributions for life insurance and death benefits. From 2017 till recently the Centre was not making its contributions, he added.
Kishan along with Union Minister and Dibrugarh MP Rameshwar Teli, Rajya Sabha member from Assam Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and senior officials of Assam Government recently met the Union minister for labour and employment Bhupender Yadav in New Delhi and discussed the issue of releasing the Centre's contributions for the PF scheme of tea workers. He said Yadavji had assured to release the Centre's contributions at the earliest.
"Today (Monday) I came know that a portion of the Centre's contributions has already been released. Yadavji has also assured to extend all possible helps to resolve all issues of tea workers in Assam," pointed out Kishan.