DIBRUGARH, Sept 11 - So far only Goodricke Group Limited, MK Shah Exports Limited, Hollonghabi and Wokha tea estates have declared 20% bonus to its workers besides the Assam government-owned Assam Tea Corporation Limited.
Goodricke Group Limited owns some ten plantations in the State and MK Shah Exports has 13 tea estates. The officials from Goodricke settled for 20% bonus in two installments (i.e. 15+5) during negotiation with the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) yesterday while MK Shah Exports Limited agreed to pay full 20% bonus today, informed Rupesh Gowalla, general secretary, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha. Woka and Hollonghabi tea estates had made the announcement much before.
It is gathered that ACMS leaders are bargaining with the planters for the maximum bonus regardless of the profit and loss component of the tea estates. With hardly three weeks remaining for the Durga puja festivals, maximum tea estates in the State are yet to settle the quantum of bonus and this is worrying the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha.
ACMS president and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar said that negotiation was still on with the representatives of some of the tea companies at this juncture. Officials from Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA) also confirmed that discussion on the bonus issue was ongoing.
Until now major companies like the Mcleod Russel, Andrew Yule, APPL, Warren, Grob, Dhunsiri, Assam Company and Appejay etc., are yet to finalise the bonus. The tea estates were earlier asked to pay the bonus at least 20 days before the onset of the Durga puja festival.
Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and other organisations from the plantations have been pleading for peaceful settlement of the bonus at the earliest so as to avoid any unrest like situation in the gardens.