GUWAHATI, March 1 � Five tea planters associations and the INTUC-led Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) today arrived at a wage agreement for the daily wage workers of the tea estates of the Brahmaputra Valley for three years since January of the current year. The five tea planters' associations include Indian Tea Associations (ITA), Tea Association of India (TAI), Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP), Assam Tea Planters' Association (ATPA) and North Eastern Tea Association (NETA).
According to the agreement, the workers of the tea estates would receive daily wages per head at the rate of Rs 84 between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. From January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013, each of these workers would receive Rs 89 per day, while for the period between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, each of these workers would receive Rs 94 as daily wage.
For the first time in the history of the country's tea industry, the planters associations and the Cha Mazdoor Sangha also agreed to introduce an incentive to curb absenteeism among the tea workers. Accordingly, an attendance allowance of Rs 1 will be paid to each of those workers who would work for five or more days in a week.
Together with this, the agreement between the tea planters' associations and the ACMS also states that authorised leave, festival holidays with pay and authorised sick leave will be deemed as a day worked. This allowance would be subject to review after expiry of one year.
The attendance allowance will be introduced from the week beginning on or after March 12. 2012 and will be computed on a week to week basis thereafter.
The arrear wages from January 1, 2012 to February 29, 2012 will be paid by June 30, 2012.
It needs mention here that each of the tea workers of Brahmaputra Valley used to receive Rs 66.50 as daily wage between January 1, 2011 and March 31, 2011. Between April 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, each of them was entitled to Rs 71.50 as daily wage and between July 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013, each of them was entitled to receive Rs 76.50 per day as per the last wage agreement signed between the planters' associations and ACMS in 2010.
During the negotiation, the ACMS submitted a charter of demand for an interim increase in wages to make good the regional disparity in wage levels. After protracted discussions, it was agreed to terminate the present agreement covering the period between January 1, 2010 and September 30, 2013 and have a new wage agreement with effect from January 1, 2012, said the agreement.
Meanwhile the management associations and the labour unions had signed a wage agreement for Barak Valley a few days back with the provision of a daily wages of Rs 68, Rs 72 and Rs 75 for the periods respectively between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 and January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, said tea industry sources.