DIBRUGARH, Nov 13 – The All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) today staged a massive demonstration in front of the head office of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) at Jibon Phukan Nagar here telling the trade union leaders of the tea industry that they can no longer hoodwink the people of the tea industry by pretending to serve the workers when actually they have been tacitly working for the tea managements and pursuing political goals.
AASAA president Raphael Kujur said that ACMS was standing only because thousands of workers of the tea industry contribute from their hard earned salaries towards the trade union. “The mandate of the ACMS is to serve the interest of the tea workers and not the tea planters or for that matter pursue political goals. The wage agreements for the tea garden workers are signed between the planters’ body – Consultative Committee for Planters’ Association and the ACMS.
“But so far, the ACMS has never bargained for just wage of the workers. The wage agreement of Rs 94 signed earlier by ACMS and CCPA does not comply with the Minimum Wages Act 1948, as it is below the stipulated minimum wage of Rs 169 of Assam,” he said.
The Adivasi students’ body has demanded that ACMS negotiate with the planters’ body for raise in the daily wage of the workers from Rs 94 to Rs 330, considering the rise in the cost of living and for the fact that plantation workers in other States were drawing above Rs 200.
The AASAA, in its memorandum submitted to ACMS, also underlined that costs associated with housing, medical and electricity, etc., must not be included as part of the minimum wages as per provisions in the Plantation Labour Act 1951 and Minimum Wages Act 1948. Kujur said that AASAA is demanding just wage for the workers.