Quality Work Life of Tea Workers

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In the modern era, globalization and economic liberalization have been accelerated the growth of     tea plantation industries around the world. It has been found from the past literature, that the first experimental tea garden was established in Chittagong in 1840 and the first commercial-scale tea garden in Bangladesh was established in 1854.The rank of Bangladesh is ten among the largest tea producing and exporting countries in the world. There are 163 tea estates in Banladesh, most of them are located in the north-eastern region in Bangladesh- Moulvibazar, HobigoHampton Roads, Sylhet, Brahmanbaria districts. Tea, one of the most popular drinks among the people all over the world. All of we just go to the market, buy the packet of tea and come back home, make it and drink it simple. But we have never wondered about the tea plantation workers and the lives that they lead. In the discussion on tea, its production, consumption and trade those who remain least attended are the tea plantation workers.

 The labor force that keep companies alive, brought from Bihar, Madras, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West bangle, Uttar Pradesh and other places in India to work in the tea garden in Sylhet region. The misfortune of this indentured laborers started with their journey to the tea gardens. According to one account, in the early years, a third of the tea plantation workers died during their long journey to the tea garden and due to the tough work and poor living situation. When the tea workers arrival into the gardens they got a new identity, They are said to be “Coolie” and turned into property of the tea garden. These tea workers fitting to survive by planted and tended tea seedlings, planted shade trees, built luxurious bunglows for tea planter, but they had tied to their hunts in the “labor lines” that they built themselves. The half or four generations have passed by the tea plantation workers in the tea garden.

 Their lives and livelihoods remain tied to the labor lines ever since. They are people without choice and entitlement to property. In addition to fringe benefits, the houses in the labor lines are given by the employer that comes first on the list of fringe benefits. The each of the worker gets only one small house that is provided by the employer. Cattle and human being are often seen living together in the same house or room. Finally, it is clear that the life of tea workers is very difficult to survive.

Tea is a major export oriented product in Bangladesh. By exporting tea we earned huge amount of foreign currency every year. But the true heroes behind earning this foreign currency are the “tea workers” who are always deprived of all the facilities that they deserve. We are getting huge amount of tea and export it only from their golden hand. Even they do not get the basic need like- education, shelter, medical facilities, food etc. to prove this we have conducted a survey on quality work life of tea workers by taking 100 tea workers. We found the following important problems. First of all they only get taka 48 per day which is much lower than the minimum wage of industrial workers fixed by Bangladesh Labor Act. Secondly, they do not get sufficient rations. They get very poor quality and protein deficient meals. Thirdly, they do not have any secondary school in any tea garden. They only get primary education so they cannot use this education to step into other professions. Finally, they do not get proper medical facilities. From the above research we get a conclusion about the tea workers that they are not eHampton Roadsoying a quality work life and lead an inhuman life.

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