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'West Bengal tea garden owners losing 20 crore rupees a day due to workers' strike'

Siliguri (West Bengal) , Sun, 31 Jul 2011 ANI

Siliguri (West Bengal), July 31(ANI): Tea garden owners and exporters in West Bengal on Sunday said that the industry incurs losses worth 20 crore rupees every day due to halt in the dispatch of tea by tea workers union who have been demanding an increase in wages.


Kamal Tiwari, a tea garden owner and exporter, said that continuous strikes since the past few days by the Adivasi Vikash Parishad (AVP) have affected the industry severely.


"The loss can be recovered only after the strike is over. And about 20 crore rupees is lost everyday, which is bad for the tea industry. Industry has been going through a very bad phase in the last few days. And it such kinds of strike continue to happen, then the industry will reel under severe crisis in the near future," said Tiwari.


The workers belonging to the AVP continued to hold back the production on Sunday, and threatened to intensify the protest if their demands were not fulfilled.


"Our protest began on July 26 and we had called for a three day strike and we had withdrawn the strike. We held a gate meeting for three days. After the conclusion of the gate meeting, the association did not pay any heed to our demands," said Shambhu Kayaor, Progressive Tea Workers Union (PTWU) Terai secretary.


"As the association did not listen to our demands, we have closed four dispatch and we will continue with the protest till August 4. Our demand is that our wages should be increased to 250 rupees and if we do not get it we will organise a bigger protest than this," he added.


The current daily wage of the AVP in the Terai and Doars region is about 67.50 rupees.


Kayaor added that negotiation on the wages was completed on March 31 last year, but there were no increments.


The union is hopeful that the issue would be resolved when the state government talks to them on August 4. (ANI)


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