Life and struggle of women's tea workers in Bangladesh

Tea workers of Bangladesh

Talking about the life and struggle of the women workers of Bangladesh, discussion of the current situation is not enough. If their past history is not picked up, the history of their life struggle will be called partly. It is also relevant and necessary to highlight the history and struggle of their arrival in Bangladesh.

akm shihab, (Bangladesh Anarchist Network- BAN )

In the British India, Assam, East India Company started production in 1828 and tea in Chittagong in 1840. The first workers were imported from where the Chinese workers were experienced for the production of tea. But due to weather, environment and home problems, workers leave or die of disease. As a result, the companies import indigenous agricultural workers from various places of India. Some of which include Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Santal Pargana, Dumka and Gaya of Bihar, Raigad, Raipur, Rampur and Chaklpur, Uttar Pradesh, Madras and West Bengal in Madhya Pradesh; A large part of tea workers came from the surplus agricultural workers.

The process of collecting tea workers was known as 'Free Contracts'. It was a very profitable business. The people involved in this business used to seduce people by using hypocritical methods of using hypocrisy, hypocrisy, power, and temptation to come to Assam. Which also owe medieval European slavery to slave trade. These workers died due to diseases due to various diseases in Assam. Even those who lived would have put in the inhumanity of the garden authorities, home, medical problems and the lack of supply of food to suffer misery. Between 1863 and 1867, 84,915 workers died in Assam, but by January 1867 30,000 workers died. Despite that, the labor market was not closed. As a result, tea workers have been imported from different places of India in all the gardens of Sylhet and Chittagong like other areas of Assam. Tea-workers have come from different ethnic groups. Among them many more people including Oraon, Munda, Santal, Kharia, Kharwar, Bhuihar, Mal, Raj Ganda, Kisan, Nagasia, Tanti, Barike, Mahalis. Some researchers have mentioned 104 tea-workers.

There was dissatisfaction among the workers for false temptation, use of force, and cheating, and protesting did not result. The East India Company and the British issued various laws in 1857 to force workers to labor in labor. As a result, labor movement began to demand or prevent resistance from labor unrest. But barbarism, the labor movement was suppressed. The non-cooperation movement of the anti-British people also affected tea workers after garden owners took steps to reduce labor wages at the end of World War I. They decided to return to their home country. To get rid of the slavery in the tea garden, about 30,000 workers including women and children left the garden for their original habitat. The workers left the other gardens to see them. This is an important event in the history of tea-workers movement. Dipankar Mohant's article 'Sylhet Tea-Workers Movement' revealed that more workers were deposited in Sylhet Baramkhali, Kulaura, Shamser Nagar, Srimangal, Satgaon and Shayestaganj railway stations. The administration ordered the authorities not to give tickets for the railway tickets to the workers so that the workers could not leave the area.

The workers started their journey on foot in Chandpur Ground by getting the tickets without getting tickets. Workers from all around Chandpur came to gather and workers started gathering. The purpose was to go to Goalanda Ghat through the river. The workers tried to get out of the steamer after reaching the gooseberry steamer. The British government had already deployed the police there. Police started firing at a whistle, targeting the workers. Many died in the shootings, while the rest fled to wounds. At night, the British company's authorities failed to exploit and threaten the workers to return to the garden. As a result, the Gurkha soldiers started jumping on them at the direction of the authorities. Many of them died. General strike was called in protest against the brutal attacks on tea workers in Chandpur. The life was stagnant. Assam-Bengal Railway and Shipping Company employees participated in the protest program including shutdown. Their strike continued indefinitely and spread to other areas including the Brahmaputra Valley. Stalkers strike last for about two and a half months. Four thousand five hundred railway employees were displaced. Ultimately, the movement of tea-workers by the compromise of the ongoing movement under the bourgeois leadership led to the end. At this time tea workers had no union. In 1938 'Shreehatta Kacha's tea-worker union' was formed to create movement among the workers of 'Srihatta Kachar Communist Party'. And some demands are raised. Despite the continuation of the struggle, the struggle of the British India's tea-workers did not change in the life of a slave-time even in Bangladesh.

There are 162 commercially-based tea gardens in greater Chittagong, Greater Sylhet, Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and Lalmonirhat in Bangladesh. 3% of the world's tea production is manufactured in Bangladesh. Exporters' cash crops of tea. In the year 2015, 67.38 million kg of tea is produced. In 2016, it was estimated that 70 million kg would be surpassed (Bangladesh Daily). In Bangladesh, 75% of the tea-laborers in Bangladesh have more than 75% women.

In Bangladesh, tea production increased, growth has increased. But the life of the workers remained the same as the British era. In the British period, the wages of the tea workers were first 21 rupees. In phases, Tk 28, 48 and Tk 69 respectively. Finally, in 2015, it was set at Tk 85. The price of their daily labor, including ration, is Tk 156. If you can work 23 hours of tea to work 8 hours a day, then you get Tk 85 wages. Less than 20kg less wages are paid for less than 80 rupees. Although 23 kilograms are meant to be collected, 24 wages are collected for wages. The extra kilos will cost up to three and a half paisa. How does a family of 4 people with this 85 rupees touch the sky in this market price? Monthly salary of a worker is 2,550, which does not cost the cost of a worker. Because they did not have their wages in this wage, they collected timber in the garden for extra income, ducks, chickens and goats in the house. The workers of some garden produce paddy, vegetables-in the jungle cut of tea garden. Workers can buy the most expensive silverware fish in the market once in two weeks. They went to work in the morning with the dried chilli and made tea and gram flour. Khan dried bread at noon. And get a chance to eat only one-day rice every night. If you do not have money, you can not eat rice.

Two rooms in an eight-by eight room, one in one kitchen. In the meantime, a family of seven to eight members are clinging to this. The garden authorities are not allowed to make houses separately outside the houses given by a labor garden authority. If anyone took the initiative to build a house, then the worker was threatened with getting out of service. But for the workers of the workers under the 32-part government labor law, it has been said that one worker will be evicted within one month after his retirement. Electricity facilities are not available but the houses given to the garden owners have electricity connections. But at the end of the month, the authorities cut off the electricity bill from the workers' salary. Taking Tk 15 a year for poultry and poultry There is also a 12-year tax for the clay oven in the house of the workers. And in the cows and goats, they were fined 50/100 taka.

When a son of a tea garden worker is ready to work, he will join his father's garden as a worker - this is the rule. Even if he does not want to marry his son, his wife will also be required to enter the work of the garden as compulsory. Workers working in tea gardens are suffering from diseases such as malnutrition, diarrhea, dermatitis and pregnancy problems. These women workers or male workers are also in dire health risk. Especially women workers are working at the risk of not going on holidays for the wages of maternity wages. Both the mother and the pregnant woman are suffering due to their eight hours of standing in the womb during the pregnancy period. Women usually collect leaves in tea gardens, make pots of nurseries and collect seedlings etc. Often they have abortion to work in tea gardens. Because these workers do not take leave until the baby is born since pregnancy. Maternity leave is not on their forehead. So the child was able to stand in the sun for eight hours with a stomach. A mother does not share the amount of rest and balanced diet that needs to be eaten at this time. The child who is born of malnutrition, who is born of child labor, is born with many complications. The children have physical and emotional pain due to working on their stomach. Many types of physical complications also occur. But there is no way to suffer their sufferings. When working in the garden, the workers also do mistreatment while drinking water or eating betel. There is no adequate tubewell or pure water system. There is no necessary sanitation system in tea garden; The situation is bad too. As a result, the workers and their family members are often infected with diarrhea. Again, if there is a major disease, the owners will spend half the cost. The workers' comment that stomach aches, headache, chest pain give paracetamol to the same medicine.

Tea-workers children in education are also deprived. According to labor law, if there are 25 students in a tea garden, the garden authority will have to establish a school there. But the garden authorities are not doing this. Although government schools are set up in tea gardens, it is inadequate in the proportion of population. And the schools also have lower education standards. Children are unable to take education due to lack of money. Many of the students do not attend school because the school is away from residence. Those who are studying for children, they make money by borrowing money. If a child of a child is educated in learning the right way of living, then he needs to get stuck in getting his job. Because they do not have their own house (land) or residence address, they are not getting jobs even with higher education.
Tea-worker women also have to endure patriarchal repression. Women workers work in tea garden. Women are obliged to pay all the money for the week's salary to their husband or father. Tortured alliance with the forehead when caught with 10/20 of rupees hidden by himself. Men give money to women, repay their debts, and after that they go to the Bhati Khan. There, drinking wine from there, woke the wife. Which is the nude of the capitalist-patriarchal system. Indigenous Tea-workers believe in Hinduism and religious prejudice due to lack of science education is too much among them. Believe in ghosts. There is a prevalence of fear that the imported workers could not escape the darkness of the night, because of the story of ghosts of the garden.

Finally, it is said that the tea-workers are the most oppressed among all types of workers in Bangladesh. 125/150 years ago, tea-workers were able to reduce the jungle jungle by cultivating the land in a meager cultivation and by gaining generations of labor and sweat, they were able to make life more vulnerable. The workers of tea garden in Chunarughat of Habiganj, cultivating 511 acres of land in the garden for more than a hundred years, came up with some extra income, and in the name of development the Hasina government announced the decision to build a special economic zone and take it away. Tea-workers do not even have the right to trade in trade.

Today's Tea-garden owner, the ruling class, Hasina's government are no longer required to explain the British colonial rulers as children. The slave system of the Tea-workers is its living proof.
Therefore, together with the urgent demands of the women workers and tea workers, united with the workers, peasants and oppressed people of this country, join the movement of anti-imperialism, bureaucracy, brokerage class, government eradication and social change, anarcho-syndicalist movement, Because such movement can give relief to all the oppressed people, including workers-peasants.