The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), which is the largest tea garden workers’ union of the state, has urged the tea industry to pay the maximum of 20% puja bonus to the workers.
The tea garden workers’ union insisted that the tea gardens should pay the puja bonus at least three weeks before Durga Puja festival.
The minimum bonus for tea garden workers under the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 is 8.33% while the maximum rate has been fixed at 20%.
All permanent and temporary workers, who have worked for a minimum period of 30 days, are entitled to the benefit.
“We have already issued a letter to the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA), Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA), North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) and Tea Association of India (TAI) asking them to ensure 20% bonus to workers,” ACMS general secretary Rupesh Gowala said.
“Like every year, we have insisted that the bonus should be paid to the tea garden workers, 3 weeks before Durga puja. The sum should be paid in one go,” said Gowala.
Last year 99% of the tea gardens paid the maximum quantum of bonus, he informed.
“This year also, we expect the same. Though tea production may be somewhat lower this time, but the price realisation has been good. So, we are hopeful that the workers will be getting the maximum bonus this time too,” Gowala added.
Assam, which accounts for 49% of the country’s total tea production, has 803 registered tea gardens.
In 2019, all major tea houses like Andrew Yule, James Warren, Rossel India Limited, Goodricke, MK Shah Exports had paid the maximum bonus.