Trade unions on hunger strike for 20% puja bonus

Trade unions on hunger strike
Fri, Oct 4, 2019

Our Correspondent
As part of their agitation demanding 20 percent puja bonus for tea garden workers, the trade unions in the hills staged a hunger strike here at Motor Stand ahead of the 12-hour bandh in the hills tomorrow. The hunger strike was staged in different tea gardens here.
The agitation starting today came after five rounds of bipartite negotiations failed to break the deadlock on bonus negotiations forcing an intervention of the State government call a tripartite meeting called in Kolkata on September 30 which too did not yield any results.
“Our programme of a hunger strike was held from today morning which will be lifted in the evening. We appeal to all to support the bandh called tomorrow all over the hills from 4 in the morning. Shops and vehicles will not run with only emergency services being allowed to run. Tea gardens will also remain closed,” said Karuna Gurung, president of Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU) affiliated to the Binoy Tamang faction of the GJM party.
According to the trade unions, schools and college where exams are going on will be kept out of the purview of the strike. They also said that the route of Sikkim to Siliguri will remain open.
Today, 14 trade union leaders affiliated to different political parties sat on the hunger strike which included leaders like CPIM trade union leader Saman Pathak, Jan Andolan Party leader Amar Lama, TMC trade union leader N.B. Khawas, Morcha trade union leaders Bharat Thakuri and J.B. Tamang, CPRM trade union leader Sunil Rai and GNLF trade union leader S.K. Lama.
Similar hunger strikes also started today in different tea gardens here which will be held for two days on relay basis.
Today a rally was also held by the trade unions in the town area. GNLF president Mann Ghisingh who visited the hunger strike spot said justice should be got by the tea garden workers and there should be no compromise in the bonus they deserved.
Other programmes of the trade union like stopping dispatch of manufactured tea, go slow and pen down strike for some time in the morning in the tea gardens would also continue as announced earlier.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi