WBTDC workers in hills tea gardens to get 20 percent bonus

WBTDC workers in hills tea gardens to get 20 percent bonus
The West Bengal Tea Development Corporation (WBTDC) authorities today gave their consent to disburse 20 percent bonus to the workers of its three tea gardens in the Hills after the initial refusal.
Sandeep Mukherjee, principal advisor to the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) confirming the development said, “I have received a communication from the WBTDC head quarter in Kolkata saying 20 percent bonus would be given to the workers of Pandam, Rangarung and Rangmukh-Cedar tea gardens from tomorrow onward”.
The Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labor Union (DTDPLU) affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) party had threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike demanding 20 percent bonus for the workers of the three gardens under the WBTDC and disbursement within September 27.
“The 20 percent bonus will be given at one go from Thursday onward.
However, it will be distributed on different days to the three gardens,” said Mukherjee. He said the clearance file was expected to be signed by the state’s finance department by tonight. “The decision has already been taken but the order file needs to be signed which will be done by today,” he added.
On September 17, 2014, the WBTDC authorities issued a letter directing the management of the three gardens to give 10 percent bonus to the workers for this year on the availability of fund and approval of the state government which did not go down well with the GJM affiliated trade union. “We had several meeting with the WBTDC officials and they had agreed to a 20 percent bonus. However, they backed-out breaching the written agreement they had given on August 20. However I am happy that the WBTDC has finally agreed to our demand,” said Suraj Subba, the DTDPLU general secretary over phone from Kolkata when contacted for his comment.
From 2008, workers were being given bonus as per the norms set by the DTA which at times touched the 15 percent mark. However after prolonged meetings and agitation, the DTDPLU managed to negotiate with the management of private gardens and got the bonus increased to 20 percent from 2010 which was accepted and followed by the WBTDC, too. Prior, to 2008 the workers were being given 8.33 percent bonus.
The Pandam tea garden presently has 268 workers, Rangarung 195 and Rangmukh-Cedar 1935 workers. (EOIC)

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