Agri Business

Gauhati High Court stays wage hike for Assam tea garden workers

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on March 11, 2021

Next hearing on March 15

The implementation of the ₹50 a day hike in wages for tea garden workers in Assam is likely to face some delays.

Following a petition filed by the Indian Tea Association and a host of 17 tea companies against the February 23 notification of the Assam government enhancing the minimum wage by an interim amount of ₹50 a day, the Gauhati High Court has ordered the state government not to take action against the petitioners until the next hearing on March 15.

The counsel appearing on behalf of ITA and tea companies argued that the wage hike announced was "illegal" as no "committee or sub committee was formed" as per the Minimum Wages Act 1948.

Therefore, the counsel prayed the matter to be heard on another date to obtain instructions in this regard.

Hearing the petition, Justice Michael Zothankhuma ordered, "the state respondents shall not take any coercive action against the petitioners in pursuant to the impugned notification till the next date".

Cost-push

It is to be noted that the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government increased the daily cash wage of tea workers to ₹217 a day, up from ₹167 a day. The industry expects the wage hike to push up costs by around ₹25-30 a kg.

The industry believes that "the due process" was not followed in the process of announcing the hike.

The West Bengal government had also announced a wage hike to ₹202 a day, as against the earlier ₹178 a day.

While the difference in wages for tea garden workers in Assam and Bengal may only appear to be ₹15 a day, but this includes only the cash component. The gardens in Assam are also required to provide ration to workers at ₹2 a kg. Hence the organized tea industry in Assam spends around ₹17 a day on ration and this pushes up the overall cost by around ₹30-35 a day.

Published on March 11, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like