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20 % bonus must be paid, reiterate tea wokers� bodies

By Staff correspondent

DIBRUGARH, Aug 21 - In a sharp reaction to the declaration that the tea industry may fail to disburse 20 per cent bonus to its workers this year, the leading tea trade union� Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and other frontal organisations from the plantations today said that planters at any cost must pay the maximum bonus to all its employees.

ACMS general secretary Rupesh Gowalla has said that the planters� body cannot wash off hands by merely saying that the industry is going through a rough phase. �Loss incurred by a few tea companies cannot be generalised. The tea industry as a whole cannot say they cannot afford because they continue to attract good price for quality tea. Besides, the actual average price of tea is never known because about 80 per cent of the total tea manufactured is sold dodging the auction. They never disclose the price of what is sold in the open market. How far the tea industry is in a crisis, we do not know. The Centre must institute a �high powered expert committee �to delve into the crisis claim of the tea industry. If crisis has been detected after analysis, government must act accordingly to save the industry. But on the specific matters of wages, bonus and other welfare measures we are not going to compromise,� said Gowalla.

The ACMS leader has suggested that the tea industry introspect itself. �All the manufacturing, blending, packaging and marketing is done by them. If they have failed to attract the desired market for their product, they must acknowledge failure in business management and marketing strategy. Why do they want the State government to take up the burden of workers� provident fund and hospital services etc.? The planters� body should be asking for subsidy or tax exemption to tide over the crisis, if at all they are going through tough days. But they cannot run away from their social obligation and responsibility,� said Gowalla and reiterated that the workers must receive 20 per cent bonus and continue getting other benefits from their employers.

The Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association (ATTSA) and Chah Jonogustiyo Jatiyo Mahasabha have warned the tea industry of serious repercussions in the plantations if the planters did not pay 20 per cent bonus. �Anything below 20 percent is not acceptable. Protests are bound to take place across the plantations. Situation explained by the tea industry captains is not caused by the workers but those at the helm of affairs in the industry. Workers must get what they deserve,� said Lakhindra Kurmi, publicity secretary, ATTSA. Daya Shah, president, Chah Jonogustiyo Jatiyo Mahasabha of the district said that they would launch massive protest against planters if the workers failed to receive 20 percent bonus.

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20 % bonus must be paid, reiterate tea wokers� bodies

DIBRUGARH, Aug 21 - In a sharp reaction to the declaration that the tea industry may fail to disburse 20 per cent bonus to its workers this year, the leading tea trade union� Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and other frontal organisations from the plantations today said that planters at any cost must pay the maximum bonus to all its employees.

ACMS general secretary Rupesh Gowalla has said that the planters� body cannot wash off hands by merely saying that the industry is going through a rough phase. �Loss incurred by a few tea companies cannot be generalised. The tea industry as a whole cannot say they cannot afford because they continue to attract good price for quality tea. Besides, the actual average price of tea is never known because about 80 per cent of the total tea manufactured is sold dodging the auction. They never disclose the price of what is sold in the open market. How far the tea industry is in a crisis, we do not know. The Centre must institute a �high powered expert committee �to delve into the crisis claim of the tea industry. If crisis has been detected after analysis, government must act accordingly to save the industry. But on the specific matters of wages, bonus and other welfare measures we are not going to compromise,� said Gowalla.

The ACMS leader has suggested that the tea industry introspect itself. �All the manufacturing, blending, packaging and marketing is done by them. If they have failed to attract the desired market for their product, they must acknowledge failure in business management and marketing strategy. Why do they want the State government to take up the burden of workers� provident fund and hospital services etc.? The planters� body should be asking for subsidy or tax exemption to tide over the crisis, if at all they are going through tough days. But they cannot run away from their social obligation and responsibility,� said Gowalla and reiterated that the workers must receive 20 per cent bonus and continue getting other benefits from their employers.

The Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association (ATTSA) and Chah Jonogustiyo Jatiyo Mahasabha have warned the tea industry of serious repercussions in the plantations if the planters did not pay 20 per cent bonus. �Anything below 20 percent is not acceptable. Protests are bound to take place across the plantations. Situation explained by the tea industry captains is not caused by the workers but those at the helm of affairs in the industry. Workers must get what they deserve,� said Lakhindra Kurmi, publicity secretary, ATTSA. Daya Shah, president, Chah Jonogustiyo Jatiyo Mahasabha of the district said that they would launch massive protest against planters if the workers failed to receive 20 percent bonus.

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