Darjeeling: GJM Plantation Labour Union has
stopped shipment of tea outside Darjeeling to press for hike
in wages of tea labourers.
Secretary of Darjeeling Tea Planters Association Sandip
Mukherjee said that meetings were held between the planters
and the GJM Labour Union to restart the shipping but no
solution was found.
The agitation, he said, if continued would cause a loss
of Rs 300 crore to the industry at a time when first flush tea
was being shipped out.
Meanwhile, GJM Labour Union president PT Sherpa said the
Minimum Wages Act, 1948 was not implemented in the gardens of
Darjeeling district till date though there is a wage revision
every three years.
At present the tea workers are paid as per the Plantation
Act which mandates Rs 67 per day to each labourer.
The Act has not been implemented in the tea gardens as
there was no consensus among the various associations related
to the tea industry and the labour union, he said.
The minimum wages for the tea labourers are scheduled to
be revised on March 31 and the union has demanded a wage hike
from Rs 67 to Rs 120 to Rs 150.
According to the Minimum Wages Act, a non skilled worker
should be paid Rs 120, a semi skilled worker Rs 140 and a
skilled worker Rs 154.
About 80 per cent of the tea workers in Darjeeling are
There are over 80 tea gardens in Darjeeling and Kurseong
sub-divisions of the district and cover 20,000 hectares and
employ 39,800 people.