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Congress extends support to tea workers’ strike over wage hike

GUWAHATI: The Congress today announced its support to a state-wide strike called by the Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (ATTSA) on March 22 demanding by tea workers’ wage hike to a minimum of Rs 351 per day.

The Congress workers and leaders across the state will wear a black band on their arms while participating in election campaign on March 22, a party statement said. The ATTSA has called for a lockout of tea gardens on March 22.

“The Congress Party has given a solemn guarantee that the minimum wages of tea workers shall be increased to Rs 365 after the Congress comes to power on 2nd May,” the statement added.

ALSO READ: Pay tea workers Rs 217, or be prepared to pay Rs 350: Himanta tells garden owners

 “We have studied the economic situation of the tea industry and at present, we feel that Rs 365 per day is easily possible. If tea workers in Kerala can get Rs 380 then we don’t see why tea workers in Assam can’t get Rs 365,” the Congress has said.

The grand old party also alleged that the BJP government has betrayed the tea workers in Assam. It alleged that despite promised a hike to Rs 351 by the saffron party before coming to power the labourers were still getting only Rs 167 per day over the past five years. Although the government recently hiked it to Rs 217, the Gauhati High Court has put a stay on it.

The Congress has also set up a legal committee to explore the legal viability of the demands of various communities for awarding Scheduled Tribe status. The demanding communities are Moran, Muttock, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Koch Rajbongshi and the tea community.

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The legal committee is also looking into finding a viable way to give land documents to tea workers for houses in which they have been living for decades.

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