LABOUR ISSUES IN KANNAN DEVAN PLANTATION HILLS, MUNNAR
PRESENTED BY: Mithun G. Nair ROLL NO: 26
MUNNARMunnar is a town and hill station located in Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.
Munnar is situated around 1600 meters above sea level, In the western Ghats range of mountains.
The name Munnar is believed mean three rivers referring to its location at the confluence of Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and kundaly rivers.
The early history of Munnar is not perfectly known today. Early inhabitants of the region are members of Muthuvan tribal community. However it remained the world and unexplored landscape till the later half of 19th century when ambitious planters from Europe.
PLANTATION ERA Munnar came to known to outside world by the visit of British resident of then Travancore kingdom John Daniel Munro in the 1870s.He visited the place as part of settling border dispute between Travancore and nearby state of madras.
He literally fell in the beauty of the region.
Though munnar region fell under the jurisdiction of Travancore family, it was jenma land of poonjar royal family.
Without wasting any time Munro visited the poonjar palace met head of royal family Rohini Thirunal Kerala verma valiya Raja.
Munro formed the north Travancore land planting and agricultural society in 1879.
coffeecardamomcinchonaMEMBERS OF COMMUNITY STARTED CULTIVATION OF CROP
However these crops were later abandoned when tea was found to be ideal for the crop.
Thus kannan devan hills produce company was formed in 1897.
Planters Get a Set BackIn the year 1924 the plantation of Munnar suffered a major set back due to disastrous monsoon, heavy Landslides ,loss of property and life. Large scale replanting was carried out in a few months.
ENTRY OF TATAIn 1964 TATA group entered into collaboration with FINLAY group. Which resulted in the formation of TATA-FINLAY group.
TATA tea in its real sense originated in the year 1983. when James Finlay sold their shares completely to TATA
Tea estates of tatas in north through their north Indian plantations operation (NIPO) are spread over the estates of west Bengal and Assam.
South India especially poor of quality compared to north.
Thus they opted to exit from tea business in munnar.
Thus three option we open before them.
* Handover the plantation to government. * sell the estate to private party.
* To come with anew suitable business model.
Third option was preferred over the other two.
EBO model (employee buy out model) where employees themselves became partly the owners of the company. (19% stake with Tata)
In April 2005 kannan devan hills plantation company pvt ltd was born.
RECENT LABOUR ISSUES IN MUNNAR
RISE OF PENGAL OTRUMAI
Large sections of workers are descendants of slave laborers brought by British in munnar from Tamil nadu to work early plantation in munnar. Most of them belonged to scheduled castes such as pallar, parayar and chakkiliar.
From very early days, management policies threatened estate laborers. Prevent them from going search of other jobs.
Even after the abolishing of slavery , their conditions more or less remained unchanged or soon they succumbed to new forms of slavery.
Work is supposed to start at eight in the morning and end by five. It is a tedious affair and they have to climb up and down the steep slopes with basket that weigh them down, braving the cold , wild insects and animals.
The last wage revision agreement in plantation sector in Kerala came into effect on 2011 may. According to this provision a laborer who gathered a minimum quantity of 21 kilogram leaves a day would get Rs232.
The validity of agreement came to an end on December 31, 2014.the workers have been demanding a wage revision ever since.
In 2013-2014 company declared a bonus of 19%.In 2015 company claimed profit had come down sharply and there will be a bonus cut this led to a trigger for agitation.
On 22 august 2015 ,the workers were eagerly expecting a wage hike the kannan devan management announced that a general body meeting of the shareholders of company (which supposedly include workers too) had decided to cut yearly bonus to 8.33 percent.
10 months this followed ,eight plantation labor commission meetings were held and were unwilling to increase wages without concurrent increase in output.
The government remained complacent ; unrest grew among the workers.
The women under the banner pengal otrumai (women's unity) soon gained the empathy of entire state and launched a sathyagraha at munnar and choose not to be the Part of any trade union.
The leadership emerged among them. Lissy Sunny, Gomathy,Rajeswari,Jayalakshmi.
They said enough is enough. We will speak for ourselves. we have lost faith in trade unions. We will form our own unions. We want to represent ourselves in plantation labor committee meetings. We would rather die than go back on our demands.
Finally their demands got a fruitful result