The Indian Tea Association (ITA) through a circular (No 57/2018-19) dated July 31, have asked all member companies with interest in Brahmaputra Valley to commence payment at the enhanced rate for work done with effect from the first working day of August 2018.
The interim increase in wage for a permanent tea garden worker is Rs 30 per day. The circular said that the Labour Welfare Department, Government of Assam, has issued a notification number GLR (RC) 178/2014/Pt/ 321 dated July notifying the enhancement of the minimum wages of tea plantation workers in Assam by an interim amount of minimum Rs 30 per worker per day with retrospective effect from March 1 pending finalisation of the revised minimum wages.
The circular issued by Arijit Raha further said that for any clarification the estate managements of member companies may approach their respective branch or zone of the Association. The beleaguered tea industry already reeling under escalating cost of production viz., high wages to workers in cash and kind and other overheads, decreasing exports, competition from Sri Lankan and Kenyan teas is fighting for survival.
Several big tea companies like McLeod Russell and Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited are finding it difficult to sustain the business and recently Assam Company, the first tea company established in Assam, went into the red and all its gardens were sold off.
Prabhat Bezboruah, Chairman, Tea Board, had in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) recently said that if the tea industry were to survive it would have to reduce cost of production and produce quality for increased price realisation.