Gorkha body appeals 20% bonus to Darjeeling tea workers

The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) and its youth organisation, the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangha (BhaGoYuP), on Saturday jointly appealed to the tea garden owners in West Bengal's Darjeeling Hills to release 20 per cent bonus to two lakh tea garden workers in the region.

Workers of all the 87 tea garden estates in Darjeeling observed a 12-hour strike on Friday demanding higher bonus payout.

This was the first shutdown of the Darjeeling Hills since the 104-day-long strike in 2017.

Trade unions in the region are demanding a higher bonus payout at 20 per cent against 12 per cent which has been offered by the management.

Expressing solidarity with the agitating workers, the BGP and the BhaGoYuP said in a statement, "We stand by the tea fraternity of our Gorkha community and all the workers."

"It won't be a happy 'Dassain' (a festival beginning Saturday) without our sisters, mothers and brothers in the tea gardens being paid full bonus as agreed upon," the statement said.

Asserting that tourism, timber and tea are the strengths of Darjeeling's economy, the organisations urged the management to take care of the basic needs of the workers.

Darjeeling Indian Tea Association (DITA) secretary Mohan Chettri had said the issue will be discussed during a meeting between the unions and the management of tea estates on October 17.

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