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Plantation owners asked to pay minimum wages

By Our Staff Correspondent

HASSAN, JUNE 29. The Joint Action Committee of the Plantation Workers and Staff Trade Unions in Karnataka has urged the plantation owners to pay minimum wages of Rs. 67.50 to labourers in various plantations.

The Convenor of the Joint Action Committee, M.C. Shivananda Swamy, in a release here on Tuesday regretted the non-payment of minimum wages to plantation workers.

He said the plantation owners were refusing to pay minimum wages to plantation workers citing distress in the coffee and tea industries as a reason. Besides corporate plantations, even owners of small plantations had formed associations of their own and were refusing to pay minimum wages, he added.

Terming this as a dangerous development, he urged the plantation owners to pay wages according to the Minimum Wages Act to "buy industrial peace''.

He said the issue was discussed in detail at a meeting in Hassan recently. The meeting, which was chaired by the leader of Centre for Indian Trade Unions, V. Sukumar, cautioned the plantation owners against complicating the issue by denying minimum wages to the workers.

Blaming the Government for the crisis, he said the Government had not revised the minimum wages in the last three years. It had also failed to implement the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act effectively.

He said it had been resolved to meet the Minister concerned in this connection. The Registrar of the High Court of Karnataka would also be approached for appointing a full-time Judge to the Labour Court in Chikmagalur.

He said the meeting condemned the action to evict tribal people living in the forests in compliance with a court order and also the destruction of rubber plantations in Sampaje and Kadamakallu in Kodagu district recently.

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