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Darjeeling Terai Doars Plantation Labour Union threaten strike if bonus not paid

Darjeeling Terai Doars Plantation Labour Union threaten strike if bonus not paid
Stating that the West Bengal Tea Development Corporation Ltd (WBTDC) backtracked on its promise to pay tea garden workers a Puja bonus of 20 per cent, the The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM)-affiliated Darjeeling Terai Doars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU) today threatened to start go on an indefinite strike if they are not paid the agreed amount.
According to the union, the WBTDC has now said it will pay only 10 percent bonus, in contrary to what had been agreed between tea unions and the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) on 3 September.
In the meeting, the DTA had agreed to pay the 20 percent to all tea workers, irrespective of their groups.
The WBTDC has three tea plantations in Dareejilg Hills--Rangmook Cedar,
Pandam and Rangaroon – and two -- Mohua and Hilla  in the Dooars in its jurisdiction.
"In 2008, during the then agitation for the uplift of the tea workers, the unions, in a meeting with the Joint Labour Commissioner, had decided that the WBTDC would authorize the DTA to negotiate the bonus with the unions," the spokesperson of the DTDPLU, Milan Pradhan, said today.
"Accordingly, on 17 August 2014, the managing director of the WBTDC, Swapan Kumar Khan, sent a mandate to the Darjeeling Tea Association to negotiate the bonus with the unions for the financial year 2013-2014, which led to the 3 September meeting that decided on the 20 percent bonus in all tea gardens," he added.
"In a letter dated 17 September, they say that the WBTDC will pay the bonus at the rate of 10 percent to eligible workers/staff/sub-staff of tea gardens under the WBTDC for the financial year 2013-2014," Mr Pradhan said.
DTDPLU general secretary Suraj Subba said his union strongly condemns such a change in mind by the WBTDC.
"We are giving a week’s deadline to the WBTDC to pay the 20 percent bonus not only to the three gardens in the hills, but
all the five tea gardens under it, otherwise we will go for an indefinite strike," he added.
Tea unions today met officials of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, including Principal Secretary Goutam Ghosh, while Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewas has agreed to take up the matter with officials in Kolkata, Mr Pradhan
said.

Source: sns

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