Bangladesh: Tea workers return to work after weeks of protest
"Tea estates in Sylhet come alive as workers return after a wage hike", 28 August 2022
Tea plantation workers in Sylhet have returned to work after weeks of protests ended with a Tk 50 increase in their daily wages, breathing life back into the region's estates.
Raju Goala, president of Sylhet Valley's Tea Workers Union, said workers of several plantations resumed work on Sunday.
Of the 23 tea gardens in Sylhet, nine reopened on Sunday, while the rest were on their weekend holiday. Workers in those other gardens will return to work on Monday.
Workers had been at loggerheads with estate owners over their daily wage of Tk 120. They called for the wage to be increased to Tk 300 and had been protesting since Aug 9 to press home their demand.
They abstained from work for two hours a day for four days before launching a full-scale strike on Aug 13.
Some of them went back to work after the authorities assured them of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention to end the impasse and the owners offered a Tk 25 rise in their daily wage to Tk 145.
However, they then rejoined the others on strike as there was no sign of assurances they could rely on, the protesters said.
The stalemate eventually ended through Hasina's intervention on Saturday as the workers agreed to a daily wage of Tk 170.
"The prime minister said that other allowances will also be increased proportionately and we have returned to work based on her assurance," said Mithila Farzana, a worker at Alibahar Tea Garden. "Hopefully, the prime minister will keep her word.”