The workers of Kaliti tea estate in Moulvibazar claim that they have not been paid for 12 straight weeks. They held a march on Sunday to protest against this.
The workers marched from the tea estate towards Kulaura Sadar upazila and made 11 demands to the tea estate. They gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the estate to fulfill the demands which include payment of wages and restoration of other facilities to which they are entitled.
The workers and leaders of Gazipur and Rangichara tea gardens expressed solidarity with their demands as well. With placards and household utensils in their hands, the workers walked for 2 hours and reached Kulaura.
The workers say that the Kaliti tea estate was leased from the government under the name "Zobeda Tea Company Ltd". The tea estate has 1000 workers out of which 537 hold permanent posts.
Each worker gets 102 taka per day and they get paid at the end of every week. But they claim that they have not been getting their wages for the last 12 weeks. The wages of the labour chief and the staff are also due for 11 months.
Uttam Kalower, secretary of the garden workers panchayat committee, said, "The workers get a very small wage. Despite working for 12 weeks straight, no one has got paid."
"People do not have food on their table and are forced to fast all day. The authorities are giving false promises of payments and are just procrastinating," Kalower added.
The manager of Kaliti tea estate, Pranab Kanti Das said, "This problem has occurred because we have not received money from the company on time."
Kulaura upazila chariman AKM Shofi Ahmed Salman said, "I will talk to the owners and solve this issue within 24-hours, or else I will take necessary action against them."