Tea workers to go on strike

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Production of tea is set to get affected with workers in Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai regions in West Bengal deciding to go on an indefinite strike from July 11, following failure of talks on Tuesday.

The north Bengal gardens, numbering 300, produce about 200 million kg of tea accounting for 25 per cent of the total production, industry sources said. This was one of the most crucial times for plucking tea yielding good quality `prime flush' leaves, according to Indian Tea Association sources. However, while the absence of a wage revision was one of the main issues leading to the strike call — (given by the Defence Committee for the Plantation Workers' Rights), as the earlier pact had expired in March 2004 — the real issue was the management's demand for productivity-linked wages.

The West Bengal Labour Minister, Md Amin, told reporters that although doors for negotiations were open, as of now both sides were rigid on their stands.

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