June 20, 2017
Tea estate workers have demanded a hike in wages. In a petition firled before the District Collector, they said cited the case of neighbouring Kerala.
“In Kerala, tea estate workers just need to collect 28kg and get Rs 313. But here, if we collect 48kg we get only Rs.243. It is not enough for us to pay the loans. The rise in price of daily items, children’s education expenses and all the above lack of proper treatment facilities, add to our burden,” said women work committee member S Shanthakumari.
They added that trade unions are asking for Rs1,500 as annual subscription. Since December 2016, they have not paid the amount and are not part of the union. It is unfair on the part of the unions to represent them for negotiations.
According to Valparai Taluk Merchants Association president A Jebraj, the unions Idhaya Deivam MGR Thota Thozhilalikal Sangam, Indian National Trade Union Congress, DMK Trade Union and All-India Trade Union Congress had promised Rs 290 as wages which was yet to be implemented.
“Trade unions have, without our knowledge, extended the three-year contract to four. As we are not the part of the union we do not come under the contract. Many of us are having the issue of osteoporosis. And we get neither better wages nor better treatment facilities. Even bonus is not being paid as per agreement,” Shanthakumari added.