Bengal set to finalise minimum wage for tea workers

Kolkata: In a bid to fix minimum wages for tea workers in West Bengal, the state government is set to place a basic structure of it in the ensuing tripartite meeting, scheduled to be held on July 17, an official said on Friday.

According to Zia-Ul-Alam, Convenor of Joint Forum of Trade Unions, an umbrella organisation of trade unions working in tea sector, and Citu’s General Secretary (tea industry), the state government along with stakeholders including representatives from workers’ unions and planters on Friday discussed about the component of the minimum wage at the Wage Advisory Committee’s meeting.

“The state labour department is likely to place a basic structure of minimum wage at the tripartite meeting to be held on July 17 and the government will likely to recommend the minimum wage by end of this month,” he said.

Usually, wage agreement for tea workers is executed for a three-year period and the last agreement had expired on March, 31 2017.

In fact, West Bengal government proposed an interim hike of Rs 17.50 to increase the remuneration from Rs 132.50 to Rs 150 with effect from January 1, 2018.

State also introduced interim payment of compensation on account of savings on the procurement cost of foodgrains at the rate Rs 9 per day per worker from May 1, 2018.

Unions had protested against the minuscule hike in the minimum wage as an interim wage.

Meanwhile, a three-day strike has been called by the unions from July 23-25 demanding the implementation of minimum wage at the earliest.