Darjeeling, June 13: GTA offices and some tea gardens are in the grip of movements spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.
While all 284 Group A and B ad hoc employees at the hill body started a pen-down strike this morning to demand a salary hike, the Morcha-affiliated tea garden trade union today announced a 72-hour relay hunger strike on the district magistrate's office premises this week to press for the payment of dues in plantations owned by Trinamul Congress MP K.D. Singh.
Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan, the trade union of the Morcha, launched the strike to demand a hike in salaries of Group A and B casual staff at the GTA similar to the one effected by the state government for Group C and D ad hoc workers from March 1. The Group A and B employees include engineers, doctors, managers and school teachers.
|The agitating GTA employees outside Lal Kothi on Monday. (Suman Tamang)|
The GTA has over 19,000 employees in total and 5,321 of them were appointed on a temporary basis. Since there are permanent employees in the Group A and B categories and today was the first day of the strike, the GTA's functioning was not affected.
The Morcha-affiliated Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union today said it had decided to start the 72-hour relay fast in the district magistrate's office from June 16 and block NH55 on June 21 and 22 to press for the payment of dues in the three gardens run by the Alchemist Group.
The union claims that the dues come to Rs 10 crore.
Early this morning, tea garden and cinchona plantation workers also demonstrated for an hour before reporting for work to demand land rights for the inhabitants of the tea and cinchona plantations.