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27 Aug 2022

The Business Standard

Bangladesh: Tea workers express dissatisfaction over Tk50 daily wage increase

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"PM sets tea workers’ wage at Tk170, urges them to join work", 27 August 2022

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set the daily wage of tea estate workers at Tk170 with a hike of Tk50. 

PM's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus announced it after a meeting between the prime minister and the tea garden owners at Ganabhaban...

Other facilities, including festival and medical allowances, will be hiked in proportion to the new wage, he told the media after the meeting.

Stating that Sheikh Hasina urged the striking workers to go back to work, her principal secretary also said the PM will soon speak to the workers through videoconferencing.

Meanwhile, a section of workers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Tk50 hike when their leaders accepted the PM's decision.  

Swapan Naik, a worker of Sylhet's Malnicherra tea garden, said, "We have been protesting for 18 days for Tk300 in daily wage. But only a Tk50 hike is not enough to maintain our family."

Lakkatura Tea Garden's worker Malay Goala, "I am not happy with this hike. But if all workers return to work, I will have to join them too."

Sufal Barai, panchayat president of Malnicherra Tea Garden, said, "We are not satisfied with the daily wage of Tk170. The prime minister could have fixed it at a minimum of Tk200."

It is not possible to run families with it. "How will we educate our children?" he questioned with frustration.

Sufal noted, "We will sit with all the workers at night and will make a decision whether to call off the strike and go back to work or not."

However, Raju Goala, president of Tea Sangsad of Sylhet valley, said, "We are happy with the Prime Minister's decision. She has understood our grief and increased the wage. We will rejoin work tomorrow."

Regarding the dissatisfaction of workers, he said, some people can never be satisfied with anything. 

Raju requested the Prime Minister to form a committee to monitor proper distribution of ration among workers.

Shrivas Mahali, the former president of Sylhet valley's labour union, "We are grateful to the prime minister and happy with her decision."

From Monday, all the workers here will resume work, he noted...