Tea workers don’t accept 145 rupees wages, and another strike is announced

The Bangladesh Tea Workers Union announced the withdrawal of the ongoing indefinite strike after fixing the daily wage of tea workers at Tk 145. Nipen Pal, Acting General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Tea Workers Union made this announcement at around 4 pm after a meeting with the government on Saturday, the eighth day of the strike. Less than three hours later, the tea workers’ union announced to continue the strike again without getting the support of the various valley committees. At around seven in the evening, Nipen Pal announced the continuation of the strike.
The tea workers called an indefinite strike across the country to demand a daily wage of Tk 300. On the eighth day of the strike today, Director General of Labor Directorate Khaled Mamun Chowdhury, Member of Parliament for Moulvibazar-4 constituencies. Abdus Shahid, the leaders of tea workers union sat in a meeting with the representative of the district commissioner of Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Sylhet and Chittagong. In the meeting, the wages of tea workers were increased from 120 taka to 25 taka to 145 taka. Nipen Pal said that the workers have accepted this proposal of the government with the assurance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

However, the decision was reversed around seven in the evening. Prothom Aloke Nipen Pal said, “We respect the Prime Minister’s decision. After announcing the withdrawal of the strike, the leaders of the panchayat committee and valley committee from various tea gardens called us and told us that the workers have started agitation in the garden saying that they will not accept the wage of 145 rupees. The workers could not accept the decision of the meeting in any way. So we are announcing to continue the strike thinking about the workers.
Meanwhile, when the strike was announced at 4 pm, the Bangladesh Tea Workers Union Manu Dhalai and Laskarpur Valley leaders rejected the announcement. They immediately announced to continue the strike. After hearing the news that the strike was called off, the tea workers took a position at Chaumohana on the Dhaka-Sylhet regional highway. There the tea workers of Srimangal, Kamalganj and Chunarughat sat on the streets and chanted slogans. Khairun Akhter, the leader of the tea workers present there, said, “How did the union leaders announce the withdrawal of the strike without asking anyone?” We the workers pay the subscription, they take the lead in that subscription. They cannot withdraw our logical movement. We will not accept that.’
Laskarpur Valley General Secretary Aniruddha Garaik told Prothom Alo, “We sat with the Bagan Panchayat of 23 tea gardens in Laskarpur Valley. All of them refused to call off the strike with a wage of 145 taka. I don’t understand how only 4 people of our central committee agreed to 145 rupees without any discussion with us. Our movement to demand 300 taka wages is ongoing and will continue. We are not leaving the strike until our demands are met.
Dhana Bauri, president of Manu Dhalai Valley, said, “Our workers are not accepting the 145 rupees wage. We want to tell the honorable Prime Minister that if Bangladesh is independent then we also want to live independently. Why are you mentally torturing us?’ He said, when everything was closed during Corona, our workers still worked despite the fear of Corona. How hard our workers work. We have now decided to close our 23 tea gardens. We will continue the movement to get the demand. We have withdrawn the announcement of the general secretary of the Bangladesh Tea Workers Union to withdraw the movement.