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DTDPLU demands increase in daily wages

DTDPLU demands increase in daily wages
The Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union, which is affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, has demanded wages for tea garden workers in the hills as per the Minimum Wages Act.
The union today held its central commitee meeting in Darjeeling as a follow up to the earlier rounds of tripartite talks with the labor commission and the tea garden management.
"Today, we reviewed what had been discussed in the tripartite talks on March 12 and 25. We have decided to seriously pursue with the state government the issue of implementation of the Minimum Wages Act," said DTDLPU general secretary Suraj Subba.
The trade union has also submitted a charter of demands that includes the issue of wage revision.
"We met the state labour minister on January 7 and Tea Board of India officials after three days and placed our charter of demands. We have intimated the CCPA, the Indian Tea Association and the Darjeeling Tea Association that workers be given wages according to the Labor Wage Act from this year," said Subba.
He further said, "There is no such provision as basic pay for tea garden workers. They are only given a meagre amount and this wage too has to be negotiated with the management on a regular basis. We want this to change and the state government to take the initiative and come up with a basic wage scheme.”
Workers’ wages are reviewed and revised every three years. In April 2011, the garden managements had increased the daily wage from Rs67 to Rs90 on a one-time basis after several rounds of negotiations. The increase by Rs23, or 34 per cent, was the highest raise in the history of the tea gardens of the hills.
This time around, wage negotiation meetings had to be kept on hold due to the Lok Sabha election. "The election code of conduct would not have affected the tripartite meetings for wage implementation. But state government officials including ourselves got tied up with poll preparations. Now that the election is over, we will pursue the matter vigorously," said the union secretary.
The DTDLPU has also decided to organise awareness programmes across all tea gardens in the hills to sensitise workers on the demands. (EOIC)

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