DIBRUGARH, Oct 8 � The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) has decided to make a strong pitch for increase in the wage structure of tea garden workers of the State during its forthcoming bilateral discussion with the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA).
The forthcoming discussion with the CCPA on wages and other tea garden issues assumes significance for the ACMS given that the latter is beginning to lose trust of the tea garden workers of the State. The recent Lok Sabha election is a glaring testimony to the declining popularity of the trade union in the plantations, as it failed to attract votes for the Indian National Congress. The role played by the All Adivasi Students� Association of Assam (AASAA) and other tea garden-based organisations in spearheading a string of agitations across the State for hike in the daily wages of the workers has also pushed the ACMS leadership into doldrums.
The ACMS firmly believes that they can regain the dwindling mass workers� support by taking some drastic pro-worker steps following expiry of the last ACMS-CCPA agreement at the end of the current year. The trade union has already intimated the planters� body its desire to hold a bilateral discussion for renewed amicable settlement on issues like wage hike, Sunday wage, house rent, group hospitals, increase in permanent working labour force, definition of dependents, festival holiday, benefits for sub-grades and on quality of goods supplied.
A five-member delegation of the ACMS recently visited tea estates in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Darjeeling in West Bengal to get first-hand information about the wage structure and other benefits of the workers in the plantations there. The five-member ACMS delegation included Nabin Chandra Keot, Harinanda Garh, Rupesh Goala, Lakeshwar Tanti and Samer Singh Garh.
ACMS general secretary Dileswar Tanti said plantation workers in South India were drawing more than Rs 200 as wage and therefore they would expect that the CCPA does justice to the plantation workers in Assam. The plantation workers in Assam get only Rs 94 as daily wage.