Guwahati, Feb 8: The Assam government is likely to notify the minimum wages for plantation workers this week. The Minimum Wages Advisory Board for plantation workers had met representatives of the planters associations, workers’ unions and government officials on Saturday.
“There was no consensus on the rate. The workers’ unions were insisting on Rs 351, with arrear from the year 2018. The planters’ representatives, however, claimed that the industry was not in a position to offer that rate given the present situation,” sources said.
The advisory board has not scheduled any more meetings, and official sources indicated that a notification is likely to be out by February 10.
Labour Welfare Minister Sanjay Kishan, who heads the advisory board, said the process is on to notify the wages this week.
“We have sought suggestions from all stakeholders. We hope to take an amicable decision taking into account the views expressed both by the workers and the planters,” he said.
The tea garden workers are now getting Rs 167, following an interim hike of Rs 30 in 2018. The interim hike was given pending notification of the minimum wages by the government.
Traditionally, the wages of the workers were fixed through negotiations between the companies and workers’ representatives.
The Consultative Committee of Planters Association (CCPA) and Assam Chah Majdoor Sangha (ACMS) had on February, 2015 inked a bilateral agreement, effecting a hike in the wages of daily labourers in tea gardens from the previous Rs 94. According to the three-year agreement, the wages with effect from January 1 that year was Rs 115. As per the agreement, it was raised to Rs 126 from January 1, 2016 and then to Rs 137 in the third year.
After expiry of the agreement, the State government decided to abolish the process of negotiation. Instead, it constituted a minimum wages advisory board for fixing the wages.