State govt had notified an interim hike of Rs 50
GUWAHATI, March 22: Armed with an interim High Court order, three tea planters associations which together account for over 700 gardens in the State have hiked the daily wages of workers by Rs 26, a month after the State Government had notified an interim hike of Rs 50.
In Brahmaputra Valley, the workers in these gardens will now get a daily wage of Rs 193.
The associations – Indian Tea Association, Tea Association of India and ATPA – had moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the government notification, contending that it was illegal. While issuing notices to the respondents, including the State Government, the High Court had given liberty to the petitioners to pay any interim hike.
In a letter to all its members, Indian Tea Association - the largest planters body referred to the High Court order which stated that “the State Government has been given three weeks time to file their affidavit” and that the State Government cannot take any coercive action on the its notification till the case is disposed off.
“Further, after hearing the parties, this Court is of the view that liberty should be given to the petitioners to pay to the workmen any interim enhancement of their wages as they deem proper, till the issue is finally decided by this Court,” the letter quoted the Court order.
The national committee of ITA reviewed the order in its meeting yesterday and it has been decided that an interim enhancement of Rs 26 per day will be granted to the daily rated workers in Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley over the existing level of wages with effect from February 22, 2021 till the issue is finally decided by the Court.
A similar notice has been issued by TAI to its member gardens.
Two other planters’ bodies - Bharatiya Cha Parishad and North Eastern Tea Association have not approached the Court.
In their petition in the High Court, the three tea associations had alleged that the State Government’s notification is illegal as no committee/ sub committee was formed as required under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
Traditionally, the wages of the workers were fixed through negotiations between the companies and workers’ representatives.
In its ‘five guarantees’ to the voters in this election, the Congress has promised to hike the wages to Rs 365.