Categories of Workers and Methods of Recruitments

In the tea plantation industry of North Bengal, mainly four categories of workers were involved: males, females, adolescents, and children (Sarker, 1992). Under the adolescent categories, male and female sub-categories exist. Earlier, the tea industry used to recruit child laborers, but recently recruitment of such labor has been completely stopped. Labor recruitment is done through different modes of recruitment. Permanent, casual, and contract are different modes of recruitment in tea plantations of this region. In case of the permanent mode of recruitment, only the dependent or the legal heir of the deceased person gets a job in that position. Hence, the number of job positions for permanent labor remains the same over the years. Casual workers are known as Bigha workers. Bigha workers are mainly recruited during the peak seasons. When the garden management recruits such as labor, the first persons to be given preference are the family members or dependents of the permanent workers. Other than these, few gardens sometimes also recruit contract laborers.

Criteria and Procedure for Recruitment of Labor

The permanent workers are recruited among the dependents or through replacements. As the number of job positions for permanent workers remains the same over the year, no new position is created. Table 4.3 depicts the job position of sample tea estates. However, the criteria for recruitment in such positions include the person should reach at least 16 years of age and should

Table 4.3 Sample Tea Estates and the Number of Permanent Laborers Position

SI No.

Name of Sample Tea Estate

Number ofWorkei

SI No.

Name of Sample Tea Estate

Number of Worker

1

Aibheel Tea Estate

2,146

18

Arya Tea Estate

381

2

Bagdogra Tea Estate

395

19

Ghatia Tea Estate

1,691

3

Baradighi Tea Estate

1,690

20

Kanchan View Tea Estate

112

4

Chaulluni Tea Estate

1,289

21

Matelli Tea Estate

1,764

5

Denguajhar Tea Estate

1,751

22

Mogulkata Tea Estate

1,116

6

Jadabpur Tea Estate

184

23

Moraghat Tea Estate

1,296

7

Jaldacca Altadanga Tea Estate

311

24

Nepuchapur Tea Estate

750

8

Jayantika Tea Estate

1,585

25

Phuguri Tea Estate

701

9

Kalahari Tea Estate

749

26

Radharani Tea Estate

424

10

Kathalguri Tea Estate

1,356

27

Ranicherra Tea Estate

1,372

11

Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate

957

28

Saylee Tea Estate

1,616

12

Neora Nuddy Tea Estate

994

29

Telepara Tea Estate

1,312

13

Nuxalbari Tea Estate

676

30

Totapara Tea Estate

973

14

Raipur Tea Estate

617

31

New Dooars Tea Estate

1,778

15

Trisakti Tea Estate

159

32

Rangmukh and Cedar Tea Estate

1,717

16

Tumsong Tea Estate

449

33

Tindharia Tea Estate

316

17

Kamalpur Tea Estate

226

Source: Field survey

be of sound health. The person should have to produce a medical certificate issued by the medical officer of that tea plantation to the plantation manager.

Bigha workers in the tea plantations are recruited from within the tea plantations and from outside the tea plantations. The process of recruitment for Bigha workers from within the tea estate involves a permanent worker (say, husband) whose dependent (wife) would be a Bigha worker; he (husband) has to apply to the plantation management. Then the plantation management would ask for a medical fitness certificate issued by the medical officer of that tea plantation. Then only it may recruit the Bigha worker. When the recruitment of Bigha workers is done from outside the plantations, the common practice is that the manager or his assistant would observe and ascertain the physical fitness of that person. In the case of contract labor, the common practice is only to allow the task to them by the garden authority and no specification is required. Thus, this is clear from the procedure of recruitment of labor: recruitment is based on the internal sources and there is no chance for an external candidate to be recruited in the tea plantation as permanent labor.

Promotions to the higher positions of tea garden laborers are rare in the tea plantations in the region. Only a few tea estates have promoted workers in higher positions. Those workers were promoted; their position changed to sub-staff and staff for rare cases only. No record exhibits regarding the promotion of workers to the managerial potion. So, it may be inferred that promotional opportunity is limited for the tea garden workers in Bengal (Mitra, 2010). However, those who were promoted to the staff and sub-staff positions were only male workers. The chance of promotion for male and female workers is not equal to an extent. For the male worker, the chance of promotion to a higher position is more than their counterpart (Bhadra, 2004). There are several factors behind it. The literacy rate, socio-economic condition, attitudes of planters, etc. are mainly considered. Due to the poor communication system between the labor colony and school, most of the parents are not interested to send their children to attend school. Although, as per the provision of the Plantation Labour Act, in every tea plantations, the arrangement of a school btrs must be provided for school-going children, in practice the scenario is horrible. Primary schools in tea plantations are poorly maintained in this region. Most of the time, teachers are irregular and infrastructure is also not up to the standard. Under such deteriorated situations, parents of school-going children engage them in family care. Mostly, they are responsible to look after the young child of their families. Although, according to the Plantation Labour Act, there should be crèches in every tea plantations employing more than 30 women and should be maintained in a prescribed manner. But in reality, crèches are physically present but no other facilities are available. Thus, the girl child has limited opportunities to go to school. Hence, the social status of women in tea plantations is inferior due to their low level of literacy (Sarkar and Bhowmik, 1999).

References

Ваша, P. (2008). The tea industry of Assam: Origin and development. Guwahati, India: EBH Publishers, p. 25.

Bhadra, M. (2004). Gender dimensions of tea plantation workers in West Bengal. Indian Anthropologist, 34(2), p. 44.

Ghosh, В. C. (1970). Development of the tea industry in the district of Jalpaiguri 1869-1968. Calcutta, India: Newman’s Printers, p. 45.

Government of India. (1946). Report on inquiry into conditions of labours in plantations in India. New Delhi, India: Rage, D. Y, p. 76.

Government of India Report. (1966). Report on the survey of labour conditions in tea plantations and factories in India 1961-1962. Shimla, India: Ministry of Labour, p. 22.

Government of West Bengal. (2013). Synopsis on Survey of Tea Gardens. Kolkata, India: Joint Labour Commissioner, North Bengal Zone, p. 13.

Mitra, D. (2010). Globalization and industrial relations in tea plantations. New Delhi, India: Abhijeet Publication, p. 92.

Mitra, S. (2012). Globalisation: Its impacts on industrial relations in tea plantation ofTerai and Dooars region of West Bengal (Doctoral thesis), University of North Bengal, Siliguri, India, p. 30. Retrieved from: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/ handle/10603/150726

Rinju, R. (2003). Labour and health in tea plantations: A case study of Phuguri tea estate, Daijeeling (Doctoral thesis), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, p. 293. Retrieved from: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.m/handle/ 10603/14985?mode=full

Sarkar, K., and Bhowmik, S. K. (1999). Trade unions and women workers in tea plantations. Economic and Political Weekly, 33(52), pp. 50-52.

Sarker, K. (1992). Study of trade union organization among tea workers in Terai and Dooars region (Doctoral thesis), University of North Bengal, Siliguri, India, pp. 37,42. Retrieved from: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/137111

Shanna, K., and Das, T. C. (2009). Globalization and plantation workers in North East India. Delhi, India: Kalpaz Publications, p. 67.

Urwick, L. F. (1938). Scientific principles and organization. New York, American Management Association, Institute of Management Series No. 19,1938, p. 8.

Urwick, L. F. (1956). The manager’s span of control. Harvard Business Review, June-July, p. 40.

 
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