No end to tea estates strike

DAMAK: With tea entrepreneurs, including the coordinator of the talks team, leaving for Kathmandu today, attempt to resume work in tea estate and factories has been put on hold.

The workers informed that Chhatra Giri, coordinator of the talks team and other entrepreneurs had gone to Kathmandu without holding talks with them.

With entrepreneurs and the workers sticking to their demands, an end to the strike is nowhere in sight. The agitating workers are ready to stop their strike if entrepreneurs agree to provide them social security allowances and salaries equal to other industries.

However, the tea entrepreneurs have rejected the workers’ demand, claiming that the tea industry is different from other industries.

The tea workers had demanded salaries and wages as per the agreement reached between the workers’ bodies of the three big political parties and the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries on March 24.

The agitating workers claimed that they get Rs 226 daily, equal to the pay in other tea factories. Giri, also a tea entrepreneur, said, “We need not follow the agreement reached with the FNCCI in tea industries as it is different from others.’’

Nepal Tea Estate Workers Association Chairman Dipak Tamang said, “The past agreement should be implemented; otherwise, we will not let entrepreneurs resume work at the estates and factories.” “We will intensify the protest if entrepreneurs fail to address our demands.’’

According to the workers association, tea workers in Ilam, Jhapa, Dhankuta and Panchthar districts have been agitating for long and work has been brought to a halt.
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