AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri, April 19: The Joint Forum, conglomeration of over 20 trade unions for tea garden workers, today said it would be forced to call a strike in the industry if the state government and planters continued to delay the fixing of minimum wages.
Ziaur Alam, the convener of the forum, said over two years had passed since the government had formed an advisory board to fix the minimum wage, but there had been no decision yet. His threat comes a day ahead of a tripartite meeting convened by the labour department in Calcutta to discuss on the minimum wage demand.
The forum has made it clear that it will not go for a new wage agreement for another three years.
Alam said the Trinamul trade union was not taking any step to get the minimum wage demand fulfiled.
However, Mohan Sharma, the chairman of the Cha Bagan Trinamul Congress Mazdoor Union, said: "We are in favour of minimum wage for tea estate workers and the state also wants to fix it. But unless the Centre amends the Plantation Labour Act, where there are provisions of fringe benefits for tea workers and their families, it is tough to fix the minimum wage."