GUWAHATI: The consultative committee of the plantation associations has requested the unions to chorus from any agitation programme which can trigger additional losses of manufacturing and destabilize the economic viability of the tea industry.

Secretary common of consultative committee of the plantation associations, Arijit Raha in a letter to General secretary of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), said, “It is noted from the News Reports in the Press that the ACMS will embark on an agitation from 16 September 2020 in support of demands many of which are external to the affairs of the industry, as you are aware, this year in view of the pandemic COVID-19 virus, the industry has suffered huge production losses in the months of March, April and May. Subsequently, in June and July, heavy rainfall and floods have affected production in several Tea growing areas of Assam. It is more or less certain that the annual production in 2020 will be significantly lower than 2019 – by as much as 15% approximately as estimated.”

He added, “You would appreciate that immediately after Unlock 1.0, the industry has been engaging with the Union and one of the important bilateral negotiations on Pay scales has been concluded in July 2020. The Minimum Wage Advisory Board also met recently to take forward the wage agenda. This reflects the positive spirit of the industry to safeguard workers’ interests. Further, the industry has always been open to any discussions on other issues.”

Raha additional mentioned, “At this juncture, when the industry is preparing itself to mobilize funds to meet its financial obligations and ensure smooth operations, any disruptive activity that causes a setback in production and productivity will be highly detrimental to the overall interest of the industry. We would therefore, request the Union to refrain from any action which will cause further losses of production and destabilize the economic viability of the industry.”