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BCMS demands increase in daily wages of tea workers

From a Correspondent
Doomdooma, Sept 12: Bharatiya Chah Mazdoor Sangha (BCMS), Assam Pradesh Committee, submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister for increasing the daily wages of tea workers to a minimum of Rs 600 per day, in addition to inclusion of provision of payment of Sunday wages hitherto denied to them.
The BCMS resorted to road blockade on bonus payment by cash in a single instalment to the tea workers by the tea majors like Williamson Magor. MK Shah, Apeejay Tea Ltd., Warren Tea Limited on NH-37 near Doomdooma river bridge on Monday.
The blockade was lifted after submission of a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the Circle Officer (CO), Doomdooma Revenue Circle, Pankaj Nagbangchi wherein they sought the intervention of the Chief Minister in the matter. Other demands included amendment of Assam Plantation Labour Act, 1951, to pressurize the tea companies to open Industrial Training Institute (ITI) and other skill development institutions, to pressurize the tea companies to maintain the labour strength in the tea gardens as existing in the year 1969, opening of a separate tea ministry by the government, to make provision for payment of equal wage for equal work and to remove the disparities in wage pattern between Barak and Brahmaputra Valleys.
Earlier, the tea workers, about 300 in number, assembled in front of Asam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) office in Nehru Road of the town. It is alleged that ACMS in collusion with the management of the tea companies had entered into an agreement of 20 per cent bonus payment in two instalments.
Already three tea gardens under Williamson Magor namely, Bordubi, Koomsong and Baghjan have paid first instalment of bonus to the workers at the rate of 12 per cent. The rest 8 per cent will be paid in January next year. Similarly, it is learnt that Apeejay Tea Limited had entered into an agreement to pay bonus at the rate of two equal instalments of 10 per cent each. Tension is brewing in other tea gardens on this sensitive bonus issue.