Employment Structure in the Tea Plantations of West Bengal

Employment Structure in the Tea Plantations of West Bengal

ABSTRACT

This paper analyses the trends in labour employment in the tea plantations of West Bengal using secondary evidences. Descriptive statistics has been used to analyse the secondary data. The findings suggest that the main reason behind high engagement of women workers is that work in the tea plantations are to a large extent gender specific. In fact, it is a means to depress the wages and also indicates the presence of feminised labour in tea plantations. The wages of the tea plantation workers are appallingly low. Such meagre wages cannot fulfil the basic needs and achieve fair standard of living, so the socio-economic needs compel the other family members to join the labour force. The management have used the large pool of surplus labour to their advantage by drawing them from the permanent worker households since few employment opportunities exist outside the plantation system. The result of which is the high incidence of casual labour. Although „outside workers‟ have been increasingly used in the tea plantations all over India but the calculated data shows even more widespread casualisation of the workforce in the tea plantations of West Bengal. The creation of different categories of workers has fostered the development of a highly segmented labour market and led to casualisation of the workforce.

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