DIBRUGARH, Jan 8 � The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) has welcomed the ruling of the State�s Labour Commissioner to pay ration value-added bonus to the tea garden workers following intervention by the Gauhati High Court.
ACMS general secretary Dileshwar Tanti today said that what is rational and as per rules, should be adopted and the tea estates must pay the bonus accordingly. �We welcome the decision of the Labour Commissioner because it is in favour of our tea garden workers,� Tanti said.
It needs to be mentioned that as per Section 2 (21) of the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 the concessional foodgrains supplied to the plantation workers are also part of the wage/salary. Therefore, while calculating the bonus, the tea garden managements have to consider the money value of the concessional foodgrains along with other remuneration as per definition 2 (21) in terms of salary. However, the tea garden managements had denied the tea garden workers of their legitimate right for several decades.
The ACMS has claimed that they had sought amendment to the existing Bonus Act in order to include the ration value-added bonus to the tea garden workers. However, the Asom Sangrami Cha Sramik Sangha, the organization which had knocked at the door of the Gauhati High Court to bring about the present ruling, has said that ration value-added bonus is an entitlement of the toiling tea garden workers under the existing Bonus Act.
Veteran All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) leader Ranjan Choudhury has demanded that the tea garden managements pay arrears to the workers for avoiding the ration value while calculating the bonus in the past years. �Justice will not be complete if the workers do not receive their arrears,� Choudhury stated.