Bangladesh Tea Workers’ Union has launched an indefinite strike from Saturday morning, demanding an increase in their daily wages to Tk 300 from the existing Tk 120 per day.
Tea workers from 167 tea gardens of the country took part in the strike.
Bangladesh is producing record amount of tea every year through the toil of the tea workers. In 2021, a record 96 million kilograms of tea was produced in the country thanks to the hard labor of the underpaid tea workers. Although two agreements on increasing the wages have been implemented, the fate of more than 1.5 lakh tea workers of the country hasn’t changed a bit.
Bijoy Hajra, President of Bangladesh Tea Workers’ Union Balishira Valley and Organizing Secretary of the Union’s Central Committee, said that rampant price hikes of daily essentials are making it impossible for the tea workers to run their families on a meager income of Tk 120 per day.
“We’ve discussed the matter with the tea garden owners time and again but they are constantly breaking the agreements reached between the Union and the owners. Increasing the wages of the tea workers is a longstanding demand. Though the existing agreements say that wages will be increased every year, the owners haven’t done so for the last three years. That’s why we’ve been forced to call for a tough movement,” said Bijoy.
Nripen Pal, Secretary (Acting) of the Union, said that the tea workers will carry on their strike till their demand is met.
“All the tea workers across the country will observe the strike from dawn to dusk from Saturday for an indefinite period. Despite the strike, the workers will also bring out protest rallies in their respective areas,” said Nripen.