Hunwal Tea Estate
Hunwal Tea Estate. Image credit - Facebook

The authority of Hunwal Tea Estate at Mariani in Jorhat district has declared an indefinite lockout of the tea garden from Friday night.

The decision comes after the deputy manager of the tea garden was allegedly beaten up by tea garden workers over the issue of bonus.

As per the lockout notice, issued by the superintendent of the tea estate, the garden declared 8.33 per cent bonus to the workers in September.

However, according to workers, this was not acceptable as they demanded a 20 per cent bonus.

The tea garden management agreed to release the amount as ex gratia in two instalments including 5 per cent in March and the remaining 5 per cent in July.

As per the notice, 10 per cent (8.33 per cent bonus and 1.67 ex gratia) was paid prior to the Durga Puja in 2019.

The notice said when the management was getting ready to pay the 5 pc bonus as agreed, the workers leaving their workplaces on Friday morning gheraoed the superintendent’s office, and demanded the 10 pc and created a ruckus.

About an hour later, the notice said the workers entered the manager’s office complex and assaulted the manager’s office staff and using abusive language the mob shouted that they would hit the manager.

Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni A Korati said discussions were on with both the sides, labour commissioner and officials of the district administration on Saturday to resolve the issue.

She further said as per information received by the administration no assault had taken place.

A police source said the managers had managed to escape.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com