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News of the week: Tea workers go on indefinite work abstention demanding pay hike

Tea garden workers across the country started an indefinite work abstention this morning (August 13, 2022) in demand of a wage hike.

Currently, a worker gets a daily wage of Tk 120. The workers are demanding Tk 300.

The workers of 166 tea gardens across the country, including Chattogram and Sylhet, went into the work abstention following Bangladesh Tea Workers Union’s call yesterday (August 12, 2022), reports our Moulvibazar correspondent.

There were also reports of road blockades in different areas of Moulvibazar-Barlekha regional road as part of their programme.

There is about two kilometers of traffic jam due to the blockade in two places of Luhauni and Brahmanbazar, said Saidul Hasan Sipon, general secretary of Kulaura Journalists’ Association.

The workers have been on a two-hour work abstention daily from August 9, 2022 to press home their demand. They announced the infinite work abstention yesterday as their demands were not fulfilled.

Agitated workers at Moulvibazar Lohayoni Tea Garden have been holding rally and chanting various slogans since morning.

“No one understands our grief. We protested for four days. But no one came and assured us. We work so hard, but we are not paid a fair wage. The prices of rice, pulses, oil have gone up. There are expenses for children’s education. There are treatment costs. The prices of things are increasing every day. But our wages are not rising,” Sabita Gorait, a female tea worker said.

Nipen Pal, acting general secretary of the central committee of Bangladesh Tea Workers Union, said the work abstention will go on indefinitely as per the programme announced yesterday.

“The agitation will continue until Tk 300 wage is paid,” he said.

Golam Mohammad Shibli, chairman of Bangladesh Tea Sangsad of Sylhet division unit, said, “It is illegal to stop work while discussion is going on with the owners. It’s full season in tea gardens. If work stops, everyone will face losses. The workers also get extra money by working during this season.”


See original article: The Daily Star; August 13, 2022