TN tea planters worried over State’s move to revise minimum wages

Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to revise the minimal wages for workforce in the plantation sector has triggered fears in the State’s tea sector. The federal government has issued a draft notification dated July thirty, proposing revision of minimal wages for employment in plantations escalating tea, coffee, rubber and cinchona in the Point out.

As per the most current proposals, there would be a wage maximize of ₹87 per working day for employees in tea estates, which is the predominant plantation crop in Tamil Nadu. The impacted get-togethers are needed to post their objections or tips to the proposals within just a period of two months from the date of gazette notification. Thereupon, the federal government shall challenge the last notification by either modifying or confirming the proposals. The preceding such revision was in 2017.

Small price ranges

“What is worrying for the employers is that the steep maximize in their wage legal responsibility has arrive about in the context of falling tea price ranges at the general public auction centres. Growers of coffee and rubber in the Point out belong principally to the compact holder class, who would come across it to be an uphill job to shoulder the stress of an equivalent unexpected wage hike. The wage and wage-connected expenditure in the price of output in plantations is in surplus of 60 per cent,” explained Arun Kumar, Chairman, The Planters’ Affiliation of Tamil Nadu, in a statement.

“Of unique issue to employers is that, out of the complete wage of ₹425 per working day, the methodology adopted by the federal government in the notification for arriving at the variable dearness allowance component is egregious. This has led to a 27 per cent maximize in dearness allowance (DA), as versus only a 9 per cent maximize in the 2017 notification. This would outcome in an adverse result every single quarter to quarter, when the DA would have to be revised, throughout the program of the validity of the last notification,” Arun Kumar explained.

Additional, even without having such a revision, the present wage costs in Tamil Nadu are considerably larger than the North-Eastern States, which are the dominant producers of tea in the region in terms of quantity, Arun Kumar explained.

The employers in the plantation business in Tamil Nadu are in the procedure of finalising their objections to the statutory draft notification. “We hope to convince and prevail upon the Point out federal government on the need for moderation in minimal wage fixation in Tamil Nadu to make sure safety of employment and the ongoing survival of the business,” he additional.

Tea output in Tamil Nadu stood at 153.83 million kg (mkg) in 2020, accounting for all over twelve.2 per cent of India’s tea output of one,257.fifty three mkg.

Lengthy-term policy essential

N Lakshmanan Chettiar, Director, Golden Hills Estate Pvt Ltd, Coonoor, explained the proposed wage hike will upset the economics of the business. “The federal government has done the unilateral determination of climbing the wages and at the exact time they don’t have a mechanism to strengthen up the auction stages,” Lakshmanan explained, incorporating that the business must search at a very long-term remedy.

“We must not be dependent on this migrant labour endlessly. We will have to be in tune with the present tendencies which is going on in the earth circumstance by automating the agri-functions, for which very long term funding is needed,” he additional.