May 1, 2018
State Govt has ensured revised wages and payments of social welfare measures
More than 12 lakh people reside in the approximately 280 tea gardens in the state. The State Government has ensured revised wages of the tea garden workers. The salaries of the staff and sub-staff have also been revised.
Tripartite wage agreement
The tripartite settlement (that is, involving the State Government, tea garden management representatives and tea workers’ representatives) dated February 20, 2015, revised the wage per day for 2014-15 from Rs 95 to Rs 112.5, for 2015-16 to Rs 132.5 and for 2016-17 to Rs 132.5.
With effect from January 1, 2018, there has been an interim increase in the wage per day for these daily-rated workers to Rs 150 per day. All the tea gardens have been asked to complete the payments as per the revised cash wage, along with arrears as due from January 1. The gardens in the Dooars and Terai regions have been asked to complete the payments by March 10 and those in the Darjeeling Hills region to start payments from April 1.
Benefits for workers by tea gardens as per PLA
The Plantations Labour Act, 1951 (PLA) requires an employer to provide certain social welfare measures like housing, medical benefits, drinking water, sanitation, education facilities to the children of workers, recreation, crèche, canteen and sickness benefits.
As protective equipment, workers are provided footwear, blanket, apron and umbrella. As non-statutory benefits, the workers also get some fringe benefits like firewood, finished tea, leave travel allowance (LTA) and extra leaf price.
Special ration and other services by the State Government
Besides wages, as settled through the tripartite agreement, the State Government provides a wide range of services for the tea garden workers, like housing, drinking water supply, ration, health services, etc.
For the tea gardens in the Terai and Dooars regions, in Alipurduar district, the government provides the following facilities:
- For the families of all tea garden workers in Alipurduar district, 35 kg foodgrains (15 kg rice and 20 kg wheat) every month at the rate of Rs 2 per kg
- Ration shops in Dheklapara and Dalmore being successfully run by self-help groups
- Drinking water projects in Dhumchipara, Garganda and Mujnai tea gardens in Madarihat block
- 25 anganwadi centres in the tea gardens of Alipurduar district
Thus we see that the State Government has been providing comprehensive welfare facilities to the workers of the tea gardens. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Maa Mati Manush Government has been proving its worth time and again.