JORHAT, Aug 2 - The Indian Tea Association (ITA) in a directive issued on Tuesday has asked its member tea gardens in the Brahmaputra Valley of the State to commence payment at the enhanced rate for work done with effect from August 1.
The interim increase in wage for a permanent tea garden worker is Rs 30 per day which makes daily wage at 167.
The circular said that the State Labour Welfare Department, Government of Assam, has issued a notification number GLR (RC) 178/2014/Pt/ 321 dated July 3 notifying the enhancement of the minimum wages of tea plantation workers in Assam by an interim amount of minimum Rs 30 per worker per day with retrospective effect from March 1 this year pending finalisation of the revised minimum wages.
The circular issued by ITS secretary general Arijit Raha further said that for any clarification the estate managements of member gardens may approach their respective branch or zone of the association.
The circular further said that the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association (CCPA) � the apex body of tea planters of the country � will be approaching the workers� union to hold discussion regarding payment of arrears accrued and member gardens will be informed of the developments.
Tea industry sources said that the Assam tea industry was already reeling under escalating cost of production viz., high wages to workers in cash and kind and other overheads.
Decreasing exports, competition from Sri Lankan and Kenyan teas have raised questions on the industry�s sustainability and further increase in wage at this juncture could add to the woes of the beleaguered industry, sources stated.
Several big tea companies were finding it difficult to sustain the business and recently Assam Company, the first tea company established in the State, had to sell off its gardens.
PK Bezboruah, Chairman of Tea Board, and a noted planter himself, had in the 81st Annual General Meeting of Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA) held in Jorhat on July 13 said that if the tea industry is to survive it would have to reduce cost of production and produce quality for increased price realisation.