GUWAHATI, July 5 - In perhaps the highest ever pay hike for tea garden workers, the State government has enhanced their daily wages by an interim amount of Rs 30 per day.
Official sources said an official notification in this regard has been issued. The interim hike will have to be implemented with retrospective effect from March 1 this year.
The workers will get the interim hike till the finalisation of the revised minimum wages, as was recommended by the Minimum Wages Advisory Board for plantation workers in its meeting on June 14, the sources told The Assam Tribune.
The sources also said the government will notify a one-man committee to examine the objections raised by the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA) � an umbrella body of the garden managements � on the proposed rates of composite minimum wages of Rs 351.33 per day worked out by the Labour Commissioner.
The composite wages includes the cash and kind components, including facilities of housing, ration, fuel, etc., provided to the workers.
While the interim hike notification does not say anything separately for the plantation workers in Barak valley, it is assumed that the hike will be applicable for workers in both the valleys.
The government had earlier said the daily wages of tea workers in Brahmaputra and Barak valleys would be same from now on. As of now, workers in Brahmaputra valley are entitled to a daily wage of Rs 137, while those of Barak valley get Rs 115 along with an �attendance allowance�.
The industry claims that the composite wages for the workers now is around Rs 280.
The three-year wage agreement, signed between the CCPA and the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, had expired last December. According to that agreement, the minimum hike was retrospectively increased from the existing Rs 94 to Rs 115 beginning January, 2015. The amount was further increased to Rs 126 and Rs 137 in the subsequent years.
The BJP government in the State had said that from now on the minimum wages will not be fixed through a bilateral agreement between the workers� representatives and the managements, as was the practice so far. The government has instead formed a committee to revise the minimum wages.
There are around 12.5 lakh tea workers in both the valleys.