Sudden strike by indigenous tea workers demanding higher wages

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Hill Voice, 7 October 2020, Sylhet: Tea workers of 26 tea gardens in Srimangal Upazila of Syhlet went on a two-hour strike from 9 am to 11 pm yesterday on 6 October 2020 demanding payment of bonus including increase in salary before Durga Puja.

It is learnt that in November 2016, the tea workers and the owners signed an agreement for the salary allowance of the tea workers. According to the agreement, the tea workers were supposed to be paid Tk. 150 daily but they demanded Tk. 300 by increasing their salaries at the end of the contract.

However, considering the financial condition of the owners they demanded only Tk. 200. On the other hand, the owners have promised to pay only Tk. 115 daily, but are delaying the payment of the remaining amount and the bonus on the occasion of Durga Puja. So the tea workers went on a sudden strike yesterday.

Tea workers say it has become impossible to support their families with wage Tk. 102. As a result, it is not possible to bear the educational expenses of the children. It will be impossible to perform Durga Puja without giving bonus including salary increase before Durga Puja. At that time the workers demanded a wage of 300 taka.

During the strike, Bijoy Hazra organizing secretary of Bangladesh Tea Workers Union and president of Balishira Valley branch said that in a meeting with the owners, they agreed to pay Tk 150 in response to a demand of Tk 300, but after 23 months, wages are being paid at Tk 102.

The tea workers across the country will go on a strict program if bonuses are not paid including the implementation of the new agreement before the Puja. So they demanded the implementation of the salary including the payment of new wages as per the agreement.

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