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Raju Bista jibe at Mamata over bonus delay

If the tea industry in the Terai and the Dooars can pay bonus at 18.5%, why can the hill tea workers not receive bonus at 20% ?

By Our Correspondent in Siliguri

  • Published 8.10.19, 2:18 AM
  • Updated 8.10.19, 2:18 AM
Bista also raised the issue of a minimum wage for the tea workers, underlining that the state was yet to finalise it.
Bista also raised the issue of a minimum wage for the tea workers, underlining that the state was yet to finalise it. Picture by Gautam Bose

Darjeeling MP Raju Bista of the BJP has attacked the Mamata Banerjee government over the delay in resolving the tea bonus impasse in the hills.

Hill tea workers have not received their Puja bonus this year because the trade unions and the planters could not reach a consensus on the rate of the bonus.

After bipartite talks held in the hills failed, the workers’ representatives were called to Calcutta where a tripartite meeting was held on September 30 in the presence of the state labour minister.

“The meeting failed to yield any result and the next meeting was fixed for October 17, that is, after the festivities. This indicates the state government is insincere about dealing with the plight of the tea workers in the hills,” Bista said.

“The labour minister should have called a meeting the next day or the day after to settle the bonus rate ahead of the festive season.”

Bista also raised the issue of a minimum wage for the tea workers, underlining that the state was yet to finalise it.

“Fixing a minimum wage for tea workers and conferring land rights to them are issues that the Mamata Banerjee government should have taken care of. But nothing has been done to address any of these issues,” he said.

Bista had a question for the planters in the hills: If the tea industry in the Terai and the Dooars — whose tea sells at prices lower than Darjeeling’s — can pay bonus at 18.5 per cent, why can the hill tea workers not receive bonus at 20 per cent?

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang continued his hunger strike in Darjeeling for the second day. He has said he wouldn’t withdraw the fast unless the planters give a written assurance that a 20 per cent bonus would be paid to the workers.

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