Daily wage rose to Tk 145 from Tk 120
Staff Correspondent: Tea plantation workers have returned to work after owners agreed to raise their daily wage to Tk 145 from Tk 120 amid protests.
They ended a strike after 12 days over the wage dispute yesterday, according to Nripen Pal, acting general secretary of the Tea Workers Union.
Workers of several tea estates in the Sylhet Valley launched an indefinite strike to press home their demand for a daily wage of Tk 300.
As the matter remained at an impasse, thousands of tea plantation workers took to the streets in protest and vowed to continue demonstrating until the owners accepted their demands.
The strike raised concerns within the industry as it came during what is considered to be the peak season for tea harvest.
Tea estate owners initially proposed to increase the daily wage to Tk 140, a Tk 20 rise, but the workers rejected it.
Wages are typically discussed during a meeting between the Bangladesh Tea Workers Union and the Bangladeshi Tea Parliament every two years. An agreement is signed after a consensus is reached and it forms the basis of the workers’ salaries and allowances for the next two years.
The last two-year contract expired in December 2020. Afterwards, the Tea Workers Union asked the Bangladeshi Tea Parliament for a daily wage of Tk 300 on Jan 19, 2021. As many as 13 meetings between the two parties followed but the workers were no closer to having their demands met.
Later on Aug 3, labour leaders issued a one-week ultimatum for a wage hike. But the owners paid no heed to it.
In protest, the workers observed a two-hour strike in tea gardens across the country from Aug 9. As the owners refused to budge, the workers went on an indefinite strike.
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