চা শ্রমিক: ‘সাত সদস্যের পরিবার চালাতে হয় ১২০ টাকার মজুরীতে’

Bishwanath Rabidash, a worker of Alinagar tea garden in Kamalganj upazila of Moulvibazar. Parents, uncle, wife and two sons and daughters. The total number of family members is seven.

Mr. works as a tea worker. Rabidash gets 120 rupees daily. He has to work 6 days a week. At the end of the week you get a bill of 720 rupees. He has to support the whole family with this single income. Mr. sighed at the answer to the question of how to run on such a low income. Rabidash said, it is very difficult to run a family at 120 rupees daily. “Currently, the price (commodity price), 40 rupees per kg of rice, how to get three meals a day! It is very difficult,” he said. Mr. in a tone of regret. Rabidash said, “What more can I say, there are many more like me. Tears come to my eyes. I live in a lot of hardship.”

He said that in order to provide education and other expenses for the children, they have to look for other jobs outside the tea garden. Bishwanath Rabidash also blamed his own fate for such a situation. “What can I do, I was born in the garden, I have to live with a lot of hardship,” he said.

The new daily
wage has set a minimum daily wage for these workers and various recommendations have been published in a gazette on Sunday by the Bangladesh Minimum Wage Board. It is said that the daily salary of tea workers will be 118 to 120 rupees depending on the classification of the garden, which is being opposed by the labor leaders. Tea workers’ leaders say that although there is a rule to increase wages every year, the draft gazette has not increased wages, on the contrary, in many cases wages have decreased. Experts say that in addition to the weak position of the workers, the religious and social status of the tea workers also plays a role in determining their wages. The board recommends living outside, rice or flour at a lower price, two festival allowances a year and other benefits. The first commercial tea cultivation in the Bangladesh part of British India began in 1854 at the Malnichhara tea garden in Sylhet.

According to the Bangladesh Tea Development Board, there are 16 tea gardens in the country. And there are about one lakh 40 thousand workers in these gardens. Jasmine Akhter is one of them.

Low-paying parents
in Moulvibazar Ramnagar police work in the tea gardens Jasmine Akter ETA. The husband has no fixed income. The whole family, including three sons and a daughter-in-law, depends on her income alone. Jasmine Akhter said that sometimes she has to struggle to get three meals a day on such a low income. “Sometimes you have to eat, sometimes you have to stay for a while without eating. In this, I am educating the boys and girls. On behalf of the workers, the Moulvibazar District Tea Workers Union has stated that it will refrain from signing the gazette.

They have demanded to pay 300 rupees daily instead of 120 rupees. Two annual bonuses equal to two months’ salary must be paid. You have to pay 10 thousand rupees as a bonus for Boishakh. Ram Bhajan Kairi, president of the organization, complained that the draft gazette mentioned a post called apprentice. But those who work in the tea industry are involved in this profession in a family way. So not only are they familiar with all the activities of the tea industry from an early age but also the adult workers become proficient in it. That is why there is no opportunity to be an apprentice in this profession, he mentioned.

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