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Tea garden workers to continue strike for wage hike

Meeting with labour dept DG ends without decision

Published : 16 Aug 2022 09:16 PM | Updated : 16 Aug 2022 09:16 PM

Thousands of tea garden workers of 167 tea estates in Bangladesh are continuing an indefinite strike demanding an increase in wages. The strike began on August 13 by tea garden workers from across the country.

The tea garden labourers, who get paid Tk120 a day, said the indefinite strike will go on until their daily wage increases to Tk 300. 

Meanwhile, Director General (DG) of the Department of Labour held a meeting with the tea garden workers and leaders of the Bangladesh Tea Workers’ Union on Tuesday. The meeting did not reach an agreement.

The tea garden workers have called for continuing work abstention for an indefinite period after the meeting with the authorities concerned ended without any decision on pay hike. 

The meeting between the tea garden workers and the director general of the Department of Labour took place in Srimangal of Moulvibazar on Tuesday morning. 

Alongside DG of the Department of Labour Khaled Mamun Chowdhury, the meeting was attended, among others, by President of Bangladesh Tea Workers Union Makhan Lal Karmaker, its Vice-President Pankaj Kandam, and General Secretary Nipen Paul. Unit heads of seven tea valleys also attended the meeting. 

Earlier, the tea garden workers had been observing a two-hour work abstention for a week demanding a more pay. But, as tea garden owners did not accept their demand, the tea workers started the strike on August 13. 

Tapan Dutta, chief adviser to the Bangladesh Tea Workers Union, said that the wages of tea workers are revised every two years.

Workers’ daily wage was fixed at Tk 120 for two years from January 2019, he said, adding that the tea garden workers then demanded that the daily wage of Tk 300 for the following two years while owners agreed to increase it to Tk 134.

On August 12, the Department of Labour issued a notice urging the tea garden workers to end the two-hour work abstention to keep tea production normal.