Around 7,000 tea workers went on a strike in Moulvibazar yesterday to press home their demands for due payments.
The workers belong to five gardens of state-owned National Tea Company (NTC) in Madhabpur, Modon Mohanpur, Patrokhola, Kurma and Champarai in Kamalganj upazila, said Enamul Haq, officer-in-charge of Kamalganj Police Station.
The daily wage of the workers has been raised to Tk 85 from Tk 69 last year, said Makhan Lal Karmakar, president of Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union, a platform of tea workers.
“The workers have been paid at the rate of Tk 69. So they called the strike for the rest of Tk 16.”
They also brought out several processions and held rallies at the tea gardens of Monu-Dhalai Valley of Moulvibazar.
Nirmal Das Painka, general secretary of Monu-Dhalai Valley of Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union, told The Daily Star: “We placed our demand before the owners' group in January this year. They did not respond.”
“The owners did not take any initiative to sit with the workers' groups to discuss it. We will now discuss the matter with NTC.”
Around Tk 3 crore is needed to clear the dues of the workers, said Mohammad Shahjahan, deputy general manager of NTC.
“It is risky to withdraw such a big amount before the Eid, which is causing the delay in clearing the payments. We will sit with the leaders of the tea workers to solve the problem.”