Assam Tea Gardens to remain closed on August 20

Guwahati, July 11: Not happy over the enhanced daily wages for the tea garden workers, the Asom Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangha have announced that the tea gardens of Assam will remain closed on August 20.

Assam Government has enhanced the daily wages for tea garden workers by an interim amount of Rs 30 per day. It is perhaps the highest ever pay hike for tea garden workers in Assam.

Addressing the media here on Tuesday, Bibek Das, president, Asom Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangha said, “The interim hike should have been implemented from January. But the interim hike will be implemented with retrospective effect from March 1 this year. We cannot accept such notification. This is an insult to the tea garden workers.”

It may be mentioned that till the finalisation of the revised minimum wages, the tea garden workers will get the interim hike. The revised minimum wages was recommended by the Minimum Wages Advisory Board for plantation workers in its meeting on June 14.

The Sangha will also gherao the Assam Assembly during the upcoming summer sessions.

“Ahead of the elections, Prime Minister had promised us that the tea garden workers of Assam will receive the same wage as the other states. He promised us Rs 350 per day like Kerala. But he forgot to fulfill his promise once the election results were out. The same promise was also made by the state BJP leaders.”

There are around 12.5 lakh tea workers in Brahmaputra valley and Barak valley. As per reports, the government will notify a one-man committee to examine the objections raised by the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations  (CCPA) on the proposed rates of composite minimum wages of Rs 351.33 per day worked out by the Labour Commissioner. The CCPA is an umbrella body of the garden managements.

The composite wages provided to the workers include the cash and kind components, including facilities of housing, ration, fuel and so on. The composite wages for the workers now is around Rs 280.