Leaders of the Pashchim Banga Cha Majur Samiti (PBCMS) have termed the writ petition filed by planters against the state government’s decision to hike wages of tea workers as a “gift for trade unions as well as workers.”
According to state committee member of the PBCMS Anuradha Talwar, the case filed by the planters was a gift as they could now demand Minimum Wages.
“We think this is an opportunity to demand implementation of the Minimum Wages Act. The workers are in an advantage position if the state fights properly to demand Minimum Wages legally,” Ms Talwar said.
Notably, a group of planters belonging to the Indian Tea Association have filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court, challenging the state government’s decision to hike the wages for tea workers from Rs 232 to Rs 250 a day on an interim basis.
Reacting to the petition, state labour minister Moloy Ghatak had told this correspondent that they would demand minimum wages for tea workers.
“We have been demanding Minimum Wages for workers since the past many days. Though the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee held a series of meetings, the outcome was zero. We also noticed that there was an understanding between the state and planters so that the implementation of Minimum Wages is delayed. We have become tired fighting for the demand,” Ms Talwar said.
Sources said a group of activists are keeping a tab on the developments and they plan to intervene so that tea workers finally get justice in their demand for Minimum Wages. “It is a good opportunity to implement Minimum Wages Act in tea plantations when the Calcutta High Court would consider it legally,” a source said.
Official sources said planters have managed a stay order till 12 June 2023 so that the state cannot ask planters to pay Rs 250 a day from 1 June 2023.