West Bengal tea garden workers get wage hike

August 23rd, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 23 (IANS) Tea garden workers in West Bengal will get a daily wage hike of Rs.13.10 in phases that would take their present daily wage to Rs.67 in 2010-11. The agreement over the hike was reached Saturday at a tripartite meeting between the tea plantation companies, workers unions and government representatives.

The participants of the meeting were members from West Bengal Labour Commission, Coordination Committee of Plantation Workers (CCPW) and Consultative Committee of Planters’ Association (CCPA), which was formed by the tea garden owners.

According to the settlement, the wages would be up by Rs.4.10 in 2008-09, Rs.4.50 in 2009-10 and another Rs.4.50 in 2010-11.

Darjeeling Planters’ Association president Sanjay Bansal, who represented the companies, said the hike was “unprecedented” and would set an unhealthy trend for all future negotiations.

“We would have preferred the hike to be spread out over a period of four years,” McLeod Russel Ltd managing direct Aditya Khaitan said.

According to Bansal, around 400,000 plantation workers in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars in West Bengal would benefit from the hike.

Earlier, CCPW put forward a demand to raise the daily wages of the tea garden workers by Rs.42. But the managements wanted to keep the hike level at Rs.11.10.

Workers in tea gardens went for a token strike Aug 11, demanding the wage hike.

Darjeeling has around 350 tea gardens. Darjeeling tea accounts for seven percent of India’s tea exports and the region churns out about 10 million kg of high quality brews every year, famous for their flavour.

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