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Dhaka Tribune

Tea workers resume work with previous salary of Tk120 for now

Labor leaders claim that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will resolve the issue of wages

Update : 22 Aug 2022, 04:49 PM

Tea workers have decided to return to work from Monday with the previous daily wage of Tk120.

The decision was taken after a long discussion between district administration and tea workers leaders from 9pm to midnight on Sunday in the conference room of the Moulvibazar district commissioner. 

On Saturday, a meeting was held with tea workers and government representatives at the office of the Divisional Labor Department at Sreemangal in Moulvibazar where the new wage was fixed at Tk145. 

After that, the tea workers' leaders called to withdraw the then ongoing strike but the tea workers continued their agitation rejecting the decision. 

Now, the Tea Workers Union came to the decision to call off the strike.

After the long meeting on Sunday night, it was announced that the tea workers would return to work at the previous wage of Tk120 for now.

Deputy Commissioner Mir Nahid Ahsan said tea workers have the utmost respect for Bangabandhu and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sunday’s decision is an example of that.

The tea workers withdrew their protest and decided to return to work trusting the prime minister will take the necessary steps to resolve their issue, he said.

Bangladesh Tea Workers Union Central Committee Finance Secretary Paresh Kalindi said: “The prime minister is our guardian. We will accept whatever decision she makes but from Monday, workers will return to work in the garden and work as usual.”

Bangladesh Tea Workers Union Organizing Secretary and Balishira Valley President Bijoy Hazra said on Monday morning said that the workers are joining work for a wage of Tk120 for now by rejecting the wage of Tk145 as they have faith that the prime minister will take a decision in favour of them.

Tea workers leaders plan to talk to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a video conference ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja. 

Other claims of tea workers shall be submitted in written form to the district commissioner. 

Later, the deputy commissioner will send the requested copy to the prime minister's office. The plantation owners shall pay strike wages to the laborers as per the prevailing rates of plantations.

Protesters block road, demand at least Tk200

On Sunday, Rejecting the Tk25 hike in daily wages, several hundred workers of various tea gardens blocked Airport Road in Sylhet and refused to join work if the government did not raise it to Tk200.

The children of tea workers studying in Dhaka University held protest program on Sunday evening demanding Tk300 wages for their parents.

Tea workers call off strike

On Saturday, it was reported that tea workers' strike was going on for the eighth day – demanding a daily wage of Tk300. However, The indefinite strike was later called off in the day as the new wage of tea workers was fixed at Tk145.

“We called off the strike out of respect for the prime minister. But I didn't sign any contract accepting the increase by Tk25,” admitted acting general secretary of the Central Committee of the Tea Workers Union Nipen Paul.

Later, general workers rejected the decision and vowed to continue their strike.

BTA details benefits received by tea workers

Bangladesh Tea Association (BTA) on August 17 said tea garden workers get wages and benefits amounting to at least Tk400 per day. 

In addition to daily cash wages, they are given overtime, and allowances for annual leave, festival leave, sick leave, provident fund, and attendance totalling almost twice the average daily wage in cash.

The association said benefits amounting to Tk175 per day were being provided to the workers to ensure social development and civic benefits.

Tea workers go on strike

Tea workers from across Bangladesh, including those in Chittagong and Sylhet, started the indefinite strike on August 13 responding to Bangladesh Tea Workers Union’s call demanding a pay increase.

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