Tea garden workers in North Bengal went on a two-day strike starting Monday, demanding wages as per the Minimum Wages Act and benefits as per the Food Securities Act.
The Joint Forum of Trade Unions, gave the call for the strike. According to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) state general secretary Anadi Sahoo, the strike received huge response from workers.
“We received 100 per cent response from gardens in Darjeeling hills. In other places, more than 90 per cent workers observed the strike,” the CITU leader told The Indian Express.
The strike was observed in nearly 400 tea gardens in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar. Of them, around 88 are in Darjeeling. The strike was also held in Mekhliganj sub-division in Cooch Behar and Islampur sub-division of North Dinajpur.
“In some places, police tried to foil the strike, but failed. In Naxalbari, some workers were arrested. However, there was no confrontation between police and our workers,” Sahoo said.
Tea gardens are crucial to the state’s economy, and the strike will likely cause losses of up to Rs 10 crore for the industry.