Darjeeling (West Bengal): Senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang's fast unto death demanding 20 per cent bonus for tea garden workers entered the fourth day on Wednesday.
The tea garden owners have offered a bonus of 12 per cent. Tamang had threatened to go for an indefinite hunger strike from October 6 and when his demand was not met, he started his fast.
"He has clearly said that he won't withdraw the hunger strike until and unless the demands of tea garden workers are met," a GJM leader close to Tamang said.
Darjeeling Indian Tea Association secretary Mohan Chettri said the unions have been demanding a bonus of 20 per cent and the planters have offered 12 per cent.
"I appeal to the owners of all the tea gardens to be more compassionate about the cause of the tea garden workers," Tamang said.
Workers of all the 87 tea gardens of Darjeeling had observed a 12-hour strike on October 4 ahead of the festive season, to press for their demand. It was the first strike since the Darjeeling hills witnessed a 104-day-long shutdown in 2017 over the demand for separate Gorkhaland state.
The GJM faction led by Bimal Gurung who is presently in hiding had last week mocked Tamang's call and alleged that he is not serious about the issue.
"We support the demand for a 20 per cent bonus. Binay Tamang's hunger strike is just a ploy to garner the support of the public but he will never succeed as people are against his moves," Roshan Giri, a leader of the Bimal Gurung faction, had said.
The issue is likely to be settled at a meeting between the unions and the management of tea estates on October 17, he said.