Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to visit north Bengal from 29 January.
The North Bengal Tea Plantation Employees Union (NBTPEU) has demanded that the state government resolve pending issues regarding the salary scale of monthly-rated employees as per Clause-11 of the tripartite agreement signed on 5 July 2022.
The NBTPEU has recently written to the Labour Commissioner, Government of West Bengal in this regard. The NBTPEU has also pointed out another subject, demanding Additional Employment (Naya Ganti) as per the tripartite settlement signed on 21 July 1999 in order to appoint staff and sub-staff in posts which are still laying vacant.
The union has also urged a halt to “rampant casualization” of tea workers and demanded that planters should regularise the “voucher bigha” workers as traditional “bigha” (casual) workers. The union has further demanded up-gradation of daily rated workers in their duties as monthly-rated employees by ensuring equal pay for equal work in the tea industry in North Bengal.
The letter to the Labour Commissioner also demands that the Technician Grade C staff be given the same status like that of Clerical Grade- III or Medical Grade III staff and increase the number of casual leave. The NBTPEU has also demanded extension of service period from 58 to 60 years.
It may be noted here that members of the Staff and Sub Staff Joint Action Committee spoke to the Minister in Charge of Labour Department Moloy Ghatak on 12 April on the issue, and after discussing the matter, it has sent a letter, pointing out the system of Provident Fund and its contribution during the period of extension.
On the other hand, the NBTPEU has demanded that the state government immediately reopen closed gardens and ensure employment of all workers of those gardens, including the previously opened gardens in this region, settlement of all ownership disputes by taking stringent action against violation of Labour Laws allegedly by employers.
“The state government should fulfill the commitment of the tripartite settlement signed on 20 February 2015 to determine and declare the minimum rate of wages of the tea industry on the basis of norms, recommended by the 15th ILC as enriched and updated by the Supreme Court of India, immediately,” the secretary of the NBTPEU, Abhijit Roy, said.
Mr Roy demanded that the state review the tripartite agreement signed on 25 July 2005 with a view to “protecting” the due wages in lieu of eight hours of work.