Tea trade unions on Tuesday said that they would begin a series of protests starting December 12 against Centre and RBI’s directive to garden managements to transfer their wages to bank accounts.
They claim that the banking infrastructure in north Bengal, where tea is grown, is not enough to serve the purpose and would lead to a financial disaster.
Since demonetisation, this is the first time that unions have openly opposed the RBI directives on wage payment.
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“The central government and the RBI have come up with the directive that wages of tea workers be transferred to their bank accounts.
“But none of the tea estates in this region has a branch of any bank,” said Ziaur Alam, convener of Joint Forum.
The unions argued for the development of banking infrastructure in all tea estates of north Bengal before sending wages to their accounts.
Till such a time they exhorted government to continue cash payments.
“We will hold sit-ins in front of all central government offices and banks in tea estates on December 12 if the government and RBI insist on bank transfers,” said Alam.
A bank official in the area backed the union’s claim that the banking infrastructure in the area was poor, and added that they did not have enough money to pay existing wages.