Thursday, June 13, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Tea workers want rice instead of wheat subsidized

The workers union has demanded to increase the daily wages of workers from Tk120 to Tk300

Update : 16 Aug 2022, 04:57 PM

The Bangladesh Tea Association (BTA) recently requested the government to allocate 1,800 tonnes of wheat at a subsidized rate for tea industry workers for survival of the sector.

The apex trade body of tea producers also requested to allocate the same amount of rice, instead of wheat, at a subsidized rate of Tk28 per kg for its labourers.

The BTA made the appeal in writing to the Food Ministry with a request to take steps to allocate either rice or wheat in the current month (August).

The Tea Workers Union began an indefinite strike from Saturday to realize their demand for a wage hike.

The workers union has demanded to increase the daily wages of workers from Tk120 to Tk300.

On the other hand, the owners have proposed to increase the workers' daily pay by Tk14 to Tk134.

As no agreement was reached on the workers' daily wage hike, the workers union observed a two-hour strike in each tea garden for four-day from August 9.

The government has given an allocation of 1,800 tonnes of wheat at a rate of Tk14 per kg for the sector in the current fiscal year.

Tea producers distribute wheat at Tk2 per kg to their workers and give Tk14.50 in subsidy, BTA Chairman M Shah Alam said in the letter.

The tea sector is a prioritized industrial sector under the National Industrial Policy-2016.

The government has set a target to increase tea production to 140 million kg by 2025, to meet the country's growing demand and increase its exports, according to the Commerce Ministry.

The volume of export was 2.17 million tonnes in 2020.

More than 115,000 permanent workers and over 350,000 dependents are living in tea garden areas.

The domestic demand for tea is rising rapidly due to urbanization and a change in consumer taste along with the growth of population.

Market diversification is necessary to increase tea production and its contribution to the national export earnings, according to a Bangladesh Bank review.

The primary importers of tea from Bangladesh were the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Japan and China in January-March 2019.

Once a tea exporter, Bangladesh has recently turned an importer of the popular commodity.

It imported 6.5 million kg tea in 2018.

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