GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - The State government has formed a Minimum Wages Advisory Board, setting in motion the process for fixation of minimum wages of tea workers.
The board will be headed by the Labour Welfare Minister and comprise the secretaries of labour welfare, finance, industry & commerce and food & civil supplies departments besides five representatives from the tea companies and four from the workers’ unions.
The board will coordinate the work of the committees and subcommittees, examine their reports and advise the government in the matter of fixation of minimum wages of tea plantation workers of the State, official sources told The Assam Tribune.
The tea workers are getting Rs 137 as the cash component of their wages, besides the fringe benefits as on date. Traditionally, the wages of the workers are fixed through negotiations between the companies and workers’ representatives.
The Consultative Committee of Planters Association (CCPA) and Assam Chah Majdoor Sangha (ACMS) had on February, 2015 inked a bilateral agreement, effecting a hike in the wages of daily labourers in tea gardens from the previous Rs 94. According to the three-year agreement, the wages with effect from January 1 that year was Rs 115. As per the agreement, it was raised to Rs 126 from January 1, 2016 and then to Rs 137 in the third year. The process of negotiation for a fresh agreement is also likely to begin soon.
The same year, the then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had issued a directive to the labour department to ensure that the tea garden management pay their workers a minimum daily wage of Rs 169 as was prescribed by the State government earlier.