The Saili Tea Estate in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district suspended operations on Monday, leaving around 1,500 people jobless ahead of the festive season, officials said.
The management put up a suspension of work notice at the main gate in the morning, workers at the tea estate said.
Negotiations were underway for the Durga Puja bonus and the operations were suspended amid the talks, they said.
The management refused to give 20% bonus to the workers as being given by the other tea gardens, they added.
The workers were offered 15.5% bonus, which led to protests at the tea garden a few days back.
“When we arrived for work in the morning, we saw the suspension of work notice at the gate. Also, the garden officials have left, following which protests started,” said Swapna Pradhan, a worker of the tea estate.
Officials of the Malbazar police station were at the spot to tackle the situation.
The workers demanded resumption of operations and payment of 20% bonus, threatening to intensify their agitation.
“If the administration does not take immediate action, we will boycott the next year’s assembly elections. We do not get any benefit, neither do we get fair pay. We need 20% bonus and the garden has to be opened before the Durga Puja,” said Shanta Kujur, another worker at the garden.
The garden authorities could not be reached for comments.