Workers seek PM’s intervention as owners propose to hike wage by Tk 20

Tea garden workers observe strike across the country demanding to raise their daily wage to Tk 300 from existing Tk 120. They block Dhaka-Sylhet regional highway at Choumohona intersection, Sreemangal, Moulvibazar on 13 August 2020Shimul Tarafdar

The workers of 167 tea gardens across the country, including 92 of Moulvibazar, continued their strike on Thursday as the garden owners have proposed a daily wage hike by only Tk 20 against the demand of an increase to Tk 300 from existing Tk 120, reports news agency UNB.

The owners offered to increase wage from Tk 120 to Tk 140 at a meeting with tea garden workers at the Dhaka office of the Labour Department on Wednesday night.

Bijoy Hazra, organising secretary of Bangladesh Tea Workers Union, said it is not possible to meet the expenses of their family with the wages they proposed. “So we want the intervention of the prime minister.”

A tripartite meeting will be held in Dhaka on 23 August led by the labour and employment minister.

Earlier, on 9 August, the Bangladesh Tea Workers Union started two-hour work abstention a day demanding daily wage hike.

Workers demanded an increase to Tk 300 a day, with inflation rising and the currency depreciating and they started a full-scale strike on Saturday, after four days of two-hour work abstention.

Bangladesh produces a record amount of tea every year through the toil of the tea garden workers. In 2021, a record 96 million kilograms of tea was produced in the country thanks to the hard labour of the underpaid tea workers.

Although two agreements on increasing wages were signed, the fate of more than 150,000 tea garden workers in the country hasn’t changed a bit.