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Publication of research report on the rights of women tea workers and their existing situation of Decent Work

Analyzing the rights situation of tea workers in Bangladesh, it has been found that overall the actual labour rights situation is unsatisfactory compared to existing legal standards for tea workers, employment opportunities in tea plantations are very limited and jobs are not secured, 95 percent of tea workers work as permanent and five percent as temporary workers, 97 percent women workers have no appointment card, 87 percent workers have no identity card, 10 percent women workers do not know what is identity card, 100 percent workers said they have no service book in tea plantation, 49 percent workers said they do 1 to 2 hours overtime for income. Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies-BILS has announced the results of the study titled ‘Rights of Women Workers engaged in the Tea sector and their existing situation of Decent Work’ in an event organized on September 12, 2023 at the Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital. This research was recently completed under the project named “Empowering Women Workers at Tea Industry in Bangladesh” conducted by BILS with the support of OXFAM in Bangladesh aiming to improve the quality of life of the Tea Workers group, implementing Decent Wages in tea plantations and improving the skills of Tea Workers. The purpose of the research was to identify the overall rights situation of women Tea Workers in Bangladesh, analyze the working conditions and socio-economic status of women workers in tea plantations, assess the knowledge and skills of union leaders of valley and panchayat committees and consult national level leaders about the status of women tea plantation workers.

BILS Vice Chairman Md. Mojibur Rahman Bhuiyan presided over the programme and BILS Advisory Council Member Naimul Ahsan Jewel spoke among trade union leaders. BILS Director Kohinoor Mahmood delivered the opening speech and Shahajadi Begum, Feminist Leadership and Partnership Specialist of OXFAM in Bangladesh, delivered the welcome speech. Shahazadi Begum Deputy Director Monirul Islam presented the research report.

Speakers said that where more than 50 percent of the workers are women, there is no sexual harassment prevention committee for women workers. The issue of land rights for tea plantation workers is also not clear. The government has given tea garden land to grow tea but it has been found that other crops are also grown there. Apart from this, no proper initiative to send the children of tea workers to school can be noticed. Journalists from various media were present at the event.