1,200 Tea Workers Lose Job Due To COVID-19

Leaders of workers at the tea industries in eastern Nepal have demanded seriousness on the part of the stakeholders to address the problems of tea workers.
Speaking in a virtual discussion organised by Sambad Samuha, Jhapa on Sunday, they drew attention of the stakeholders including the government to the plight of workers as a large number of them have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and some are working risking their lives.
They complained that the government has failed to address the demands of the workers.
Stating that the tea gardens and industries are not following the health safety standards amidst the raging pandemic, they asked the management of the businesses to pay attention to the safety of the workers.
They urged the political parties and District Administration Office to immediately conduct monitoring of the gardens and industries.
They also asked the government to provide relief to the jobless workers at the earliest and immediately vaccinate the jobholders continuing their work risking their lives.
More than 1,150 workers of tea gardens managed by Tokla, Mittal and Gupta have put off the work. Likewise, relief to the families of the workers who died of COVID-19 was also demanded in the programme.
The leaders have stressed on the implementation of Social Security Act in the tea sector in the hope that it would resolve most of the problems in the sector. However, there was a problem in implementing the Labour Act, 2017, they said.
They also urged the stakeholders to implement the increased pay of the workers. Industries associated to the Nepal Tea Producers Association have implemented the agreement to hike the pay but other enterprises have been evading the agreement.
The leaders warned that they would resort to protest and struggle if their agreements were not implemented.
General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT)’s Province 1 President Bhupal Sapkota, Vice-president Santa Rai, Central Member of Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) Urmila Dhakal Pokharel, Trade Union Confederation of Nepal’s President Harka Thungim urged the government to immediately address the problems in the tea industry.
Nepal Tea Garden Workers Association’s President Dipak Tamang, All Nepal Tea Workers Association’s President Sita Sapkota, Tea Workers Association’s President Karna Khati demanded the immediate solution to the current crisis in the tea sector and warned that they would resort to protest programmes if their demands were not met.