DIBRUGARH, April 29 � The State Government today declared the lockout of Ghograjan Tea Estate as illegal under The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and ordered the management to restore normalcy.
The order issued by the Labour and Employment Ministry was e-mailed today to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police and the Assistant Labour Commissioner here with an instruction to take immediate action. Ghograjan Tea Estate is some 16 kms from here.
Following the government order, the hunger strike launched by the workers in protest against the lockout since Saturday was called off.
The Assistant Labour Commissioner Anasuya Dutta Baruah met the workers and apprised them of the government order. Baruah also put a notice of the government order at the main gate of the tea estate�s management office as none of the management officials were available to receive a copy of the order.
The management of Ghograjan Tea Estate had declared lockout of the garden on April 20, 2015 following alleged attack on the manager by the workers of the garden. However, the workers alleged that it was only retaliation when the manager assaulted and abused some of the workers.
It is pertinent to mention that the Assistant Labour Commissioner here had called for a consolation meeting of the workers body and the management on April 24 but the management did not turn up. The workers then resorted to the hunger strike on April 27. Several workers had fallen ill following the hunger strike during the three-day strike.
It needs to be mentioned here that most of the earlier instances of labour unrest in the garden had been due to the high handedness of the tea estate authorities. The workers alleged that the tea estate authority often uses violence method to deal with the workers.
Moreover, the tea estate has been functioning in total violation of the Plantations Labour Act, Hemanta Kujur, a local Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association leader said. Some of the former employees of the tea estate have not received their retirement benefits. The management has also reportedly failed to deposit PF of the workers for the past few years, the workers told this correspondent. Besides, drainage, housing and other amenities in the tea estate is in pathetic state.