The workers said that the salary cheques they had been given were rejected by the bank due to insufficient funds in the Estate’s accounts.

Not paid for 3 months workers of Wayanad tea estate go on indefinite strikeImage courtesy: Screenshot/Manorama News
news Protests Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 15:17

Tea workers at the Elstone Tea Estate in Wayanad called for an indefinite strike on Sunday, as they have not been paid salaries for the last three months.

Workers told Manorama News that the salary cheques they had received had been rejected by citing insufficient funds in the Estate’s account.

“The salary cheques given to us were all rejected by the bank officials. They tell us that money has been not deposited in the account,” said Beevi, one of the workers.

According to state Labour Department officials, the workers in the Elstone Tea Estate in Pulpara region are to be paid their salaries, amounting to around Rs 310 per day, by the 10th of every month.

However, despite being told by the Labour Department to ensure that this rule is followed, estate owners continued to delay payments.

“The workers should be given their salary by the 10th of every month. For the past few months this has not been followed by the estate owners. The Plantation Inspector and the Labor office had held a consensus meeting to urge the owners to complete salary payment on time. According to the Payment of Wages Act, if the salary is not paid on time, a fine of Rs 1000 is inflicted on the owners,” said a District Labour Officer.

“The workers have also complained that no medical allowances and provident fund has been made available to them. They have also accused the estate owners of not doing maintenance work on the labour quarters they stay in,” the Officer added.

P Jagadeesan, a representative of Elstone, acknowledged that there had been a backlog in the payment of salaries, but said that the company was working to clear the backlog. 

 “There is salary backlog for about 2 months. But we are working on it, we will clear the backlog in installments as soon as possible,” Jagadeesan said.

He also said that the backlog had resulted because the Estate’s earnings had been hit by demonetisation and the introduction of GST. “Tea Estates have been badly affected due to GST and demonetisation. Demand for the products has come down drastically and there is lot of stock piled up in the warehouses,” said Jagadeesan.

“Our cost of production for producing 1kg of tea is about Rs 120. After demonetisation and GST, we had to reduce the sale price to Rs 70. We are running the business at an average loss of Rs 50. Before these government policies we could sell tea at more than 80 Rs,” he added. 

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!

You can also support us with a one-time payment.

Rs 200Rs 500Rs 1500Custom