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Human Resource Management in the Tea Industry

Info: 16931 words (68 pages) Dissertation
Published: 21st Dec 2021

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Tagged: Human Resources

The tea industry is one of the most mature industries in Bangladesh and till today it is bearing its heritage. In Bangladesh, tea cultivation began in 1857 and Malnicherra is the first tea garden in Bangladesh. Though globalization and economic liberalization contributed greatly to set up new industries in Bangladesh, a large portion of our national income comes from this industry.

In our country huge amounts of human resources are involved in the Garment industry and Tea industry. In Sylhet there is large number of T.E. that is why we select T.E. for our study and in this report we will try to cover one T.E from Moulavibazer, and two from Sylhet district and one from the sreemangle. In this report we give emphasis on the present practices of human resources in the some selected T.E of greater Sylhet and through this research we will make us acquainted with the real Human Resource Management operations in the tea garden of Sylhet, Moulavibazer.

Some organizations are violating human rights. Usually violation occurs at the bottom level - laborers do not get sufficient wages, compensation, training facility, good working condition, and other facilities. As a result output or productions are not increasing according to expectation and the overall development is being sluggish. The owner, authority, and stakeholder should realize that neglecting the human resources in the work place a sustainable development is not possible.

Executive Summary

The colonial British administration took up tea plantation in the Indian subcontinent at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since then, the sub-continent’s tea industry has slowly established its position as a major producer of tea in the world. At present, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka account for 52 per cent of the world tea production. At the global level, the tea industry is increasingly finding it difficult to meet ends caught between rising costs on the one hand and stagnant, sometimes even declining prices of tea on the other. Globalization and economic liberalization contributed greatly to these factors since more and more countries are undertaking tea plantation. Moreover, globalization links labor standards to trade policy. This also contributed greatly to the rising cost since tea plantation is a very labour intensive activity. It requires workers round the year. Hence, labour standards gain more importance for the tea plantation to be competitive in the world market.

Improvement of labour productivity is acknowledged as an essential means of raising level of competitiveness of the tea industry in the world market despite its low price. It has been found that besides technology and skills training, labour productivity itself is dependent on maintaining fair labour standards relating to working conditions, wages, health and nutrition status, housing and education facilities. Thus maintaining a fair labour standard is one of the key factors affecting the competitive viability of the tea industry in the world market. In India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, labour legislation for the tea plantation sector is more than 50 years old. In addition to the labor laws of 1995 and the Factory Rules of 1979, Which are applicable to all work places in general, the government of Bangladesh has exacted several legislations, namely

(a) Maternity Benefit (Tea Estates) Act. 1950,

(b) Plantation Employees Provident Fund Rules, 1960,

(c) Tea Plantation Labour Ordinance, 1962,

(d) Tea Plantation Labor Rules, 1977,

(e) The Tea (amendment) Ordinance, 1986 and

(f) Bangladesh Cha Sramik Kalyan Fund Ordinance, 1986 particularly for the tea plantation sector to ensure workers, right to safe, secure and hygienic working conditions.

However, even after the enactment of all these legislations, tea workers, right of safe, secure and hygienic working conciliations have not yet been ensured. Very few micro-level studies on tea plantation workers have been done so far. Still the findings of these studies show that the tea plantation workers are living a subhuman life both in the terms of working conditions, living conditions and health security. It is mainly due to the fact that workers’ organization representing the workers’ right in the social dialogue is not strong enough to negotiate with the employers. Hence, there is an acute necessity of first organizing the tea plantation workers, particularly women workers so that they can attain the power of collective bargaining and thereby strengthen their organization.

A workers’ organization is an essential factor not only for promoting worker’s well being but also an important factor affecting efficient use of the labour force. The Global market for tea is becoming increasingly competitive since more and more countries are entering into this sector. This competition is challenging the comparative advantage of Bangladesh’s cheap labour. Hence, to meet the challenges of globalization, the unit labour cost of production needs to be reduced by raising labour productivity. An organized labour force is the most essential factor affecting labour productivity.

Learning Objective of Human Resource Management

We, the students of BBA in Leading University, are undertaking a course on 'Human Resource Management'. There must be some objective of this study. There is no exception in our study. The main objective is to focus on different things, which are given below:

to know about their HRM strategies, weaknesses, opportunity and threats.


Bangladesh is a small tea producing country sharing 2% of the world’s Tea production. Tea is an agro based, lab our intensive and export oriented sector and plays an important role in the national economy through export earnings, trade balancing and employment generation. Our Tea industry dates back to 1857 when the first tea garden was established at Malnicherra in Sylhet District. Today we have 163 Tea Gardens with a grant area of 1,15,757.41 hal of which 52,317.21 hal or 45% is under cultivation. Though our tea industry suffered a serious setback in 1971 but we could succeed in reversing with the help of the government, foreign assistance and hard work of our planters. It is hoping to increase our production to an average of over 1500 Kg per hal in a few years time. We have undertaken measures to improve our quality of tea by extending the area with new varieties of hybrid clone, modernizing factories and improving infrastructure. We now annually produce 60 million Kg of Tea and we hope to increase our production to 90 million Kg in the next 15 years.

This paper attempts to devise a strategy to promote effective social dialogues between the tea plantation workers and their employers. It also attempts to determine the practicality of providing social protection to women workers through their own organizations and thereby enhances their labor productivity. Systematic training for the members of the workers’ organization has proved to be a breakthrough in terms of skill development, consciousness rising, and blossoming of self -confidence. Hence, the possibility of providing skill training to the workers, particularly women workers through their organization, has also been explored in this paper.

The art of tea cultivation in Bangladesh began over a century and a half ago in the 1840s near the Chittagong Club. The first tea garden to be established was Malnicherra in Sylhet in 1854. Its commercial production began shortly thereafter in 1857. Today, the main tea-growing areas lie to the east of the Ganga-Jumma flood plain in the hill areas bordering India’s Cachar tea-growing district. Most of Bangladesh tea grows at only 80-300 ft. above sea level northeast of Sylhet in the country.

During its initial stage, plantation in Bangladesh faced acute shortage of labor. No local workers were willing to do this job since it is very hard and labor intensive. The colonial British Government deployed indentured immigrants to meet this shortage. Tea plantation workers in Bangladesh came mostly from the backward class and tribal areas of central India and regions of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The present work force in the tea plantation sector of Bangladesh is the fourth generation of those indentured immigrants. Indentured immigrants were in fact new forms of bonded labor. Their bonded nature revealed in their geographical confinement within the boundary of the tea estate. For more than a century they were confined within the same geographical boundary; most still are.


Human resource management defined as the process of accomplishing organizational objectives by acquiring, retaining, terminating, developing and properly using the human resources in an organization. Organizations have to work with different resources like physical, financial, organizational, and information resources but proper utilization of all other resources largely depend on human resources. Accomplishing objectives is a major focus of any form of management. Unless objectives are met, the organization eases to exist.

Experiencing the Dutch “Tavern garden teas�, the English developed the idea of Tea Gardens. Here ladies and gentlemen took their tea out of doors surrounded by entertainment such as orchestras, hidden arbors, flowered walks, bowling greens, concerts, gambling, or fireworks at night. It was at just such a Tea Garden that Lord Nelson, who defeated Napoleon by sea, met the great love of his life, Emma, later lady Hamilton. Women were permitted to enter a mixed, public gathering for the first time without social criticism. As the gardens were public, British society mixed here freely for the first time, cutting across lines of class and birth. Tipping as a response to proper service developed in the Tea Gardens of England. Small, locked wooden boxes were placed on the tables throughout the Garden. Inscribed on each were the letters “T.I.P.S� which stood for the sentence “To Insure Prompt Service�. If a guest wished the water to hurry he dropped a coin into the box on being seated “to insure prompt service�. Hence the custom of tipping server was created.

The success of any human resource management program requires the cooperation of managers, who must interpret and implement policies and procedures. Line managers must translate into action what a human resource management department provides. Without managerial support at the top, middle and lower levels, human resource management programs cannot succeed. Therefore manager need to understand clearly how to mesh their responsibilities with those of the human resource department. In Theory “Y� it is supposed that people do not dislike work, work is natural part of their lives, they are potential, and the have the capability to perform the works effectively. If people are properly trained, guided, and motivated they can excel the organizational goals.

Acquiring skilled, talented and motivated employees is an important part of human recourse management. Each company develops its own human recourse management program after considering such factors as size, type of skills needed, number of employees required, unionization, clients and customers, financial posture and graphical, location.

Developing human resources involves training, educating, appraising and generally preparing personnel for present or future jobs. These activities are important for the employee’s economic and psychological growth. Self-realization needs cannot be satisfied in an organization that does not have an efficient set of development activities.

The proper use of people involves under standing both individual and organizational needs so that the full potential of human resources can be employed. This aspect of personnel management suggests the importance of matching individuals over time to shifts is organizational and human needs. The contribution of human resource management to organization effectiveness is so important that managers must use the knowledge and skills of human resource management specialist.

In context of Bangladesh Human Resource Management have many things to do. Human Resources can be trump card for the overall development of the country only when these large populations will be ready to utilize and when they will be utilized. In case of some industries like 'Garments and Tea' human resources are not being treated as human rather they are being treated as machine. Some organization is violating the human rights.


The story of tea began in ancient China over 5,000 years ago. According to legend, Shen, Nug, an early emperor was skilled ruler, creative scientist and patron of the arts. His farsighted edicts required, among other things, that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One summer day while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court stopped to rest. In accordance with his ruling, the servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Dried leaves from the near by bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water. As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some, and found it very refreshing. And so, according to legend, tea was created.

Because of the success of the Dutch navy in the pacific, tea became very fashionable in the Dutch capita, The Hague. This was due in part to the high cost of the tea (over $100 per pound), which immediately made it the domain of the wealthy. Slowly, as the amount of tea imported increased, the price fell as the volume of sale expanded. Initially available to the public in apothecaries along with such rare and new spices as ginger and sugar, by 1675 it was available in common food shops throughout Holland. As the consumption of tea increased dramatically in Dutch society, doctors and university authorities argued back and forth as to the negative and/or positive benefits of tea, known as “tea heretics�, the public largely ignored the scholarly debate and continued to enjoy their new beverage though the controversy lasted from 1635 to roughly 1657. Through this period France and Holland led Europe in the use of tea.

By 1650 the Dutch were actively involved in trade throughout the Western world. Peter Stuyvesant brought the first tea to America to the colonists in the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later re-named New York by the English). Settlers here were confirmed tea drinkers. And indeed, on acquiring the colony, the English found that the small settlement consumed more tea at that time then all of England put together.

Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade routes. This was due in part to the unsteady ascension to the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War. The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace ale as the national drink of England.


Human resource Management most of the times deals with the external environment (political, Economical, Social, Technological). We have studied many theoretical aspects in our classes. To get more knowledge about actual conditions we need to study in practical. We tried to find out the sectors, where human resources are largely involved. In Bangladesh, there are many tea gardens, cannels, sugar gardens; etc where human resources are very much necessary for the organization and its implementation as well. In Sylhet district, there are huge amount of tea gardens that is why, we have selected tea gardens for our study. We were assigned to cover some tea gardens from Sylhet, Moulavibazer, and Sreemangle district. We have considered the significance of different tea gardens in case of historical value, communication system, management system, labor management process, remuneration system and some other issues.


This research was aimed to make us acquainted with the real Human Resource Management operations in the selected tea gardens of Sylhet, Moulavibazer and Srimongal. Some other objectives are as follows:

  • To become familiar with the human resources available in the tea gardens in Sylhet Moulavibazer and srimangal.
  • Understand the goals of their tea garden and know their role in accomplishing these goals.
  • Forecasting the demand for labor.
  • To analyze the history and development of tea garden.
  • To investigate the contribution to the economy of tea garden sector in Bangladesh.
  • To know about the problem and barriers management department and labors are facing from different sources.
  • To know what are the benefit and services the employees are expecting from the tea companies.
  • To have some practical exposures that will be helpful for my Job experience.
  • To recommend some suggestions to overcome the problem of tea garden.
  • Assessing the working and living conditions of the tea plantation workers in Bangladesh.
  • Identifying the major problems faced by the tea plantation workers.
  • Assessing the organizing capability of the tea plantation workers.


In our report, we gave emphasis on compensation program of human resources of the tea estates. We also tried to find out the selection process, recruiting process and training process of the human resources. In selection process many steps is here but tea estates follow only interview process. In executive level they give training to improve their performance. We also focused on their remunerations and living conditions. In fact every organization needs the right people, at the right time in the right position and in this case Human Resource Management can assist the organization. We have also tried to find whether they are enjoying their human rights or not.


Our present study is basically based on the human resource management. Whatever we studies in the Subject of HRM, now we try to find out its impact on practical field (specifically in the field of tea garden). What types of rules and regulation, a procedure does the management follow for their lower level employee and how they manage their employee, how much effective is it. The main objective of this survey is to collect information regarding awareness of the tea workers about their right and their involvement in trade unionism. Along with this survey data, this study brings together quantitative data drawn from combination surveys of the tea industry in Bangladesh. It will be collected through dept interview and fieldwork. All the data will be collected through researching web site, some data we have collected from the journal, and newsletter of each tea garden. The rest was based on observations. We also take the interview both manger and employee.


Analysis in this study primarily depends on qualitative data drawn from in-depth interviews and discussions with the members of tea plantation workers at the grass root level as well as the management level. Qualitative data have also been collected from focus group discussions with the tea plantation workers. For making this project we have used both the primary and secondary data. The primary data are collected from the selected tea gardens by asking different types of questions to the labor and the employees available at the gardens. The secondary data collected from different journals on tea gardens published in newspapers (namely Sylhet-er Dak), and other publication provided by different gardens and Governmental organizations (namely Project Development Unit), and also by searching some web sites (namely virtualsylhet.com, google.com, etc.).

To collect information from the workers, four tea gardens were randomly selected. Among these four gardens, tow belongs to A category, two belong to B category and the other one belongs to C category of gardens. A total of 100 workers (40 female and 40 male lower level employee and 20 management level employee) were interviewed through a structured questionnaire. The main objective of this survey is to collect information regarding awareness of the tea workers about their right and their involvement in trade unionism. Along with this survey data, this study brings together quantitative data drawn from a combination of existing empirical research and surveys of the tea industry in Bangladesh.


Tea occupies an important place in the national economy of Bangladesh. It accounts for 0.81 per cent of her GDP. About four lakh people live on the plantation industry of Bangladesh. This sector provides employment to 0.15 million people, which accounts for nearly 3.3 per cent of the total industrial employment in the country. Tea is also an important commodity in the international trade since it is an important export item of Bangladesh. During the 1970s and 1980s, this item earned a large portion of her foreign exchange. But after the emergence of the garment industry, tea lost its dominance in the foreign exchange earning. In 1998, it earned only 0.80 per cent of the total foreign exchange earnings of Bangladesh. However, at present, Bangladesh earns a substantial amount of revenue in terms of s consumption of tea is increasing at the rate of about 1 million kg per annum. Revenue is also earned in terms of excise duty.

Tea plantation in Bangladesh is concentrated mainly in her hilly zones of four districts namely Sylhet, Maulovibazar, Habigong and Chittagong. Now there is a tea estate in the district of Brahmanbaria also. In total, there are 158 gardens of which only 25 gardens are situated in Chittagong, Sylhet, Maulovibazar, Habigonj (which constitute the greater Sylhet District) and Brahmanbaria accommodate the rest 133 gardens and contribute about 96 per cent of the annual production. Out of the total number of gardens, Bangladeshi companies and individual proprietors own 132 gardens. However, among these gardens, individual proprietors own only a little more than 20 per cent of them. All gardens are divided into three categories namely A, B, and C depending on amount of production and percentage of land under tea plantation. About two-fifths of the total gardens belong to each of A and B category of gardens, while the remaining one-fifth belong to C category. All the gardens belonging to Sterling Companies are A category gardens and occupy about 39 per cent of total land under tea plantation. But Sterling companies occupying only 39 per cent of land produce more than 49 per cent of total tea production of Bangladesh. Thus, productivity of Sterling Companies gardens is far more than that of the gardens of Bangladeshi Companies.

Production of tea per hectare is 1,437 kg. Whereas the same for the Bangladeshi companies and proprietary estate is only 961 kg. Total acreage under tea plantation has not increased much over time. As can be noticed from Table 1.1, that over the period of 1990-1998 land under tea plantation increased only by 4.39 per cent, whereas total production rose by 23.61 per cent. As a result, production per hectare rose significantly from 967 kg in 1990 to 1,145 kg in 1998 accounting for about 18.41 per cent increase over nine years time. During the same period, total production of Bangladesh rose from 45,160 metric tons to 55,824 metric tons made tea. It is encouraging to notice from table 1.2, that the growth of total tea production in Bangladesh over this nine years period is higher compared to the major tea producing countries in South Asia like India, China and Sri-Lanka (see Table 1.2).

But still Bangladesh could not increase her share in the world market since her domestic consumption has also increased significantly. It can be observed from table 1.1 that, in 1990, a little more than 40 per cent of total production of tea in Bangladesh was consumed domestically. But this share of consumption increased to more than 60 percent in 1998. Figure 1.1 clearly shows how domestic consumption of tea increases sharply and exceeds total exports of tea in 1994 and 1998. Due to high rate of domestic consumption, her export dropped from 26,970 thousand kg in 1990 to 22,220 thousand kg in 1998.


Tea Plantation Workers

Results of our survey of 100 plantation workers reveal that only a little more than 46 per cent of the workers had visited the nearby Thana headquarter of Srimangal at least once in their life. Among the women, only 35 per cent had visited Srimangal. They do not know anything about what is happening outside their boundary and are isolated from the rest of the country. As a result, their aspiration is very low. With low aspiration they cannot demand anything big. Through our survey we collected information about their aspiration regarding their children’s education and career. It was interesting to find out that only about 2 per cent of tea workers aspire that their boy child would study more than SSC. None of them aspire for their girl child to study beyond SSC. It is even more interesting to know that about 37 per cent do not want their children to go out of their tea garden area. The highest aspiration they hold is that their boy child should be a clerk (Babu) in the garden office.

Capital field development involves three activities: new planting, replanting and filling of vacancies. Generally men are employed in all these activities. But the extent of all these activities is marginal. It can be noticed from Table 4.1 that over a nine-year period (1990- 1998), total area under tea production increased by only 4.39 per cent. Annually, only 160 hectares are newly planted. Also in India and Sri Lanka, new plantation is marginal. Replanting in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh is also very slow. As against a targeted rate of 1.5 to 2 per cent per annum, it is only about 0.4 per cent in Bangladesh and India and 0.7 per cent in Sri Lanka.

Filling, which is carried on to increase plant density per unit area, is also very slow. But male labor absorption in the plantation industry is much higher than that of female workers over the last few years (Table 1.4). It can be noticed from Table 4.5 that over the period of three years (1996-98), employment of men increased far more than their population growth. But employment of women increased less than their population growth. During the last few years, more and more men are employed in the plantation sector since being geographically isolated they do not get any job opportunity elsewhere. The table shows that both adolescents and children are increasingly being thrown out of the labor market as time passes on, although the right to employment for heirs is ensured by an agreement. The problem of unemployment between adolescent and children is very acute. During our survey many respondents reported that their children are forced to get involved in illegal activities due to unemployment.

Moreover, because of this unemployment, dependency ratio is very high among the tea plantation workers. As can be seen from Table 1.4, of the total population of 3, 53,407 persons, 1, 12,251 are employed representing around 68 per cent dependents. It means that one earning member has to maintain more than two persons.

Socio-economic and Health Conditions of the Tea Plantation Workers

Socio-economic and health conditions of tea plantation workers have important bearings on their productivity. Analysis of these conditions also gives an idea whether the tea worker are enjoying there right to decent work and living. Social dialogue to improve the conditions of tea plantation workers cannot be promoted without having an idea of the socio-economic conditions of the tea workers. Therefore, an attempt has been made in this section to examine the socio-economic conditions of tea plantation workers.

Socio-economic and health conditions of tea plantation workers have important bearings on their productivity. Analysis of these conditions also gives an idea whether the tea worker are enjoying there right to decent work and living. Social dialogue to improve the conditions of tea plantation workers cannot be promoted without having an idea of the socio-economic conditions of the tea workers. Therefore, an attempt has been made in this section to examine the socio-economic conditions of tea plantation workers.

Age and experience have direct bearing on the pluckers’ productivity. Findings of a study show that good pluckers have over 20 years of experience and their age is seen as a helpful attribute. To have 20 years of experience a workers must be at least 35 years old since a tea worker does not start work before the age of 15 years as child labor is almost absent in the tea sector. Findings of our survey show that about 51 per cent of the workers are below 35 years old. The average age of the female worker is a little more than 33 years, while that of the male workers is about 37 years. Hence, efficiency of male workers is supposed to be more than that of female workers. For young workers, training is a means of improving their productivity.


Parkul tea estate

Parkul tea estate is one of the gardens in Bangladesh from the163 gardens. It is situated in the habigong district, chunarughat Thana. It is more profitable garden that starts its journey in Bangladesh from 1858. It is a national tea company (NTC) where the owner is recognized on the basis of shares, however the owner of 51% shares of that garden is government and 49% shares are for the public. The area of this garden is about 1550 hector that involves several villages. This garden is consisting of 803 permanent labors, 3 executive and 26 staffs. More than 300 temporary workers are also working in this garden.

By consulting with the authority the annual plan is prepared here, however in this current year the garden is producing 350,000 kg in average and the production cost for per kg is 70 tk. It is one of the efficient branches of NTC that maintain a good management system. This garden follow the argument in case of fixing the salary of management level, clerical level as well as lower level employee. Each worker can harvest 60 to 70 kg of lives per day which costing per kg 1.30 tk. Normally their plaguing task is 23 kg for earning 30 tk.

Plaguing season starts from the April to December and during January to March is the time for odd work. During this time they plant, mulching in the young tea plant, drain work, a sardar is appointed to aid them in work. The number of sardar is varying from the garden to garden. In the Parkul tea estate, one sardar is elected for per 25 workers while in the Daragon tea estate for per 50 workers one sardar is appointed.

All the employee and clerical staffs are sent to BRTI for getting training, which is situated, in sreemangal. Employee also has their union in sreemangal that create pressure to the management of this garden for the fulfillment of the demand of the labors.

Lackatoorah tea estate

The lackatoorah tea estate has started its journey in Bangladesh from 1875 A.C. This tea garden is situated in the airport road of sylhet. This tea garden is one of the most profitable tea garden in our country. The name Lackatoorah is derived from the wood collection of Shajalal shrine. For the annual festival of Shajalal shrine, people collect the wood from this tea estate. The firewood is locally called Lakri and this Lakri becomes Lackatoorah once upon a time. The total area of this tea garden is 1293 hector, but all the area is not only under the tea plantation but also many other things like (rubber garden, cannel, ponds, blank area etc. ).

The total number of registered labors in this garden is approximately 1200 but the number of temporary labors is more than 3500-4000. Most officials have chosen this job because of the facilities, as, more salaries, live allowances, yearly bonus, medical facilities, bangloo with gas electricity water etc., servant etc. and also with some other motives are dignified position, national company etc. To get this job a potential person must have to be a graduate or H.S.C. as minimum requirement with computer specialist especially on Microsoft Office. Sometimes officials have to take training from BTRI and PDU under BTB. It is an “A” grade tea garden.

According to the management, labors do not create any problem, but from external environment some problems become, such as, tree becomes theft, other civil cases regarding land etc. There are three tea gardens under the supervision of lackatoorah tea estate. These are lackatoorah, Dholdeli, Kewachera. The number of male labor and female labors is mostly 50%. In lackatoorah tea garden, the number of female labor is 143, in Dholdeli tea garden, the number of female labor is 209, and in Kewachera tea garden the number of female labor is 180. The total number of females is 532 whereas the total number of labor is 1200.

In The lackatoorah tea estate, there are one manager and three assistant managers. Unfortunately the lackatoorah tea estate was facing a heavy loss till 1986-1992. But from 1992, the production of this tea estate has been increased tremendously. The production of this tea estate in 2003 was 3, 15, 000 kg, in 2004 was 3, 97, 000 kg, and 2005 was 4, 57, 000 kg. Now this garden has targeted to produce 4 lac 75 kg in 2007.

Mirzapur tea estate

Mirzapur tea estate is a large and ancient tea garden in Bangladesh, which started in 1890. Mr. Mohammad mirza Ispahani (M.M.Ispahani) who was most famous reformer and successful business magnate bought it in 1956. From that time the mane of this tea garden converted to Mirzapur Ispahani tea estate. Today the owners of this tea garden are the sons of Mr. Mohammad mirza Ispahani and the chairman of the Ispahani limited is M.M Behruz Ispahani. The Mirzapur tea estate is situated at mirzapur, which is 10 kilometer far from the sreemangal in moulvibazar. It covers a large geographical area, that covers Mirzapur, voulachara, kandipara, Vonobhir, Madabpur, Nichunpur, Pachaun, jathraphasha, Kamashid and Royporan etc. The total ground of the land of the Ispahani tea estate 1498.81 hectors. Management of this tea estate thinks that mirzapur ispahani is the market leader of whole tea estate in Bangladesh. In this current year they are producing 9, 50, 000 kg tea and this production are increasing day by day.

Malnicherra tea estate

Malnicherra tea estate is the first tea garden in the Bangladesh. It was established in 1854. It is situated in sylhet sadar. It is under the “ Sylhet tea company Ltd”. The tea estate covers about 2500 hector land. In this tea garden, the total number of labors is 3000 including permanent and temporary. The permanent labors are 1500 and the temporary labor is 1500. There are 42 personnel in this tea garden. Most officials have chosen this job because of some major facilities, such as, compatible salaries, live allowances, yearly bonus, medical facilities, bangloo with gas electricity water etc., servant etc. and also with some other motives are natural beauties, relation with foreign companies, dignified position, national assets etc. To get this job a potential person must have to be a graduate, sometimes specifically need to come from botany subject, now Tea Technology is the new program providing by SUST and the graduate from this subject will get this type of job. Sometimes officials have to take training from BTRI and PDU under BTB. It is an “A” grade tea garden.

According to the management labors always want to do less work with less time this is problem and from external environment politics always create problems. They use all modern machines for producing tea, such as, CTC, CFC, etc. According to them the owner of Sylhet Tea Company Ltd. and this tea garden Mr. Ragib Ali is a very good tea planter and others should follow him. He always focuses on the infrastructural facilities on the garden. According to the management level the number of their position is best of ten tea gardens. The total target of production in 2006 is 8, 00, 000 kg.



In a tea garden, management is the most top-level employee who runs all activities as well as directs lower level employee to top-level employee. Manager at a time is decision maker as well as field worker in the tea garden. There are types of managers existed in each tea garden that those tea garden we are visited. They are Manager, Assistant manger and Production or operation manager. Manager is the responsible for overall activities in the garden, assistant manager help to the manager in all activities what ever it is essential to help the manager for performing job and production/operation managers is specially responsible for operational functions that is producing functions from plucking leaf until converted to marketing packages.

Other staffs (clerical staffs) are responsible to their specific job, duties and responsibilities and they also help the manager for performing very well. We have seen that every management is very much sincerer, cordial, cooperative, having positive mind to achieve their target and very much responsible in their jobs. Management does their jobs very well by performing the following activities-

Annual plan

Commonly referred to as the primary management function, planning is the formulation of future courses of action. Plans and the objectives on which they are based give purpose and direction to the organization, its subunits and contributing individuals. For establishing goals and achieving those goals and reach the objectives, for every organization plans is must.

Annual plan is compulsory first function of an organization, because an organization when it starts their activities, firstly, it is required to make an annual plan for a year. In tea garden, the all activities are done by their annual plan. On the basis of annual plan of the tea garden managers direct all employees, workers, and other labors. Basically, tea garden makes plan about their productions that is, how much teas they will produce in the current years. The annual plans related to other matters, such as salary, benefits, recruitment, selections, training development all are remained same like previous years.

Management of the tea garden sets the plan about the productions by analyzing the following situations:

  • Annual budget.
  • Seasons (off season, on season).
  • By analyzing the last year that how much plans they have achieved.
  • Technological (Machineries) support.
  • Registered labors.
  • Competition related to other department, which has same areas.
  • Responsibilities and sincerities of the employees and labors.
  • The target which may be capable to carry and do not create a negative impact in the garden.
  • Comparing actual performance.
  • Selected plans (targets) by the executive employee (managing director) or head office of the garden.

By analyzing the above situations, the managers of the tea gardens (in those garden we completed our survey and visited) have made their annual plans by which they produce specific amounts of teas and achieved specific profits which mentioned below.


In Bangladesh, there are about 162 tea gardens. Tea garden is production-based plant and the main sources of those plants are thousands of labors. About 70% of total activities of all the tea garden are done by the labor. No tea plant can go without the cordial involvement of the labors. Though now a day, much technology has innovated but to run all those technology labor must be required. However, the new coming technology can reduce the job opportunity for the labor but in context of Bangladesh, this days are far away. Because, developed countries like- Japan, U.U, USA use more modern technology whereas Bangladesh does not used so many sophisticated technology for plucking tea leafs or for other activities like- irrigation, draining, tree planting, etc.

How the manual worker moves toward in the tea garden

Basically, all the labor that is working in the garden has come from India. They are from Ash am, Tripura, Mizuram etc state of India. The first tea garden in Bangladesh is Malnicherra tea estate. This garden was started its journey in 1857; in that time including Malnicherra all other tea garden was dominated by U.K. All the tea garden would manage by the British government. They hired the inhabitants of several state of India as a day manual worker for their garden. From that trill now they are working in the garden of Bangladesh. They are now increasing in number. But because of lacking of job opportunity in the tea garden most of those labors are not getting any scope for doing any job in those gardens. Most of them are doing their job as a permanent worker while other are working in those tea garden as temporary worker and most of them are searching for job outside of the garden.

Criteria of getting the job of the permanent worker

Basically, the entire permanent worker gets there on the basis of some criteria:

Paternal profession of the labor

Any worker can get the job if his\her father\mother take retire from their job or if they died, then and only then they can only get the job. The child will be shifted to his\her father\mother's part, but he\she will have to be up to 6 years hold, normally.

Migration of the labor

In other way, one can come to a new garden where he\she used to work. Tea plantation workers in Bangladesh came mostly from the backward class and tribal areas of central India and regions of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The present work force in the tea plantation sector of Bangladesh is the fourth generation of those indentured immigrants. Basically the women after their marriage come to a new garden where their husband are working and get a job in the part of her fathers-in-low or mothers-in-low or any member of the family or get a new job in the garden as a permanent worker or if it is not possible to get as permanent worker, then work as a temporary workers. During the initial stage, tea plantation in Bangladesh faced acute shortage of labor. No local workers were willing to do this job since it is very hard and labor intensive. The colonial British Government deployed indentured immigrants to meet this shortage.


Most of the worker can get permanent work without any references. Most of them can get permanent job on the basis of their working skills. Most of the worker continues their work in the garden as a temporary worker for a long year. Most of them get work by the reference of clerk and sadder.

Number of the labor

Labors are very lower level employees who are called as worker and Bengali name or garden's language called as srameek or kuli. There are so many labors in the tea garden. The functions of the labor are also different. Some are plucking teas and some are drivers, servants, office labors, guards etc. The wages of the workers are very much less and poor but their works are very much different and physically done by it. The numbers of the workers are varying from each to another garden. There are different numbers of workers existed in different garden. In the tea garden, some labors are registered and some are temporary. Registered labors are responsible do works in their daily works routine and when management call anytime, any where, he\she must be presented, otherwise he\she will be taken punishment. Temporary labors who are not yet registered are responsible to do works when manager call him\her. On the basis of on season when a lot amount of leaves have to be required to pluck in the garden, then the temporary or unregistered labors are essential to pluck the leaf. Temporary labors do not receive any rations, benefits of the scheduled that are available for registered and bonus etc.

In earlier, we have discussed, there are various types of labor who perform different duties in their job areas they are:

  1. Driver.
  2. Electrician.
  3. Mistri.
  4. Sardar.
  5. Pluckers.
  6. Office Labor.
  7. Servant.

Until December' 2006, the number of labors in our surveying teagarden are mentioned below getting by managers, clerical staffs through asking questions and in formations.

Wages of the labor

Wages of the laborers selected by Bangladesh Cha Shangshad Somittee. According to BCSS wages are paid to labors and all tea gardens are followed the rules of BCSS.

Number of executive and staffs

In tea garden in Bangladesh, manager is the very much top-level employee and there is no any executive employee such as managing director, vice president\chairman and the chairman of the branch. Manager is the responsible person for the each branch and he is the chief superior authority in the each branch. Executive body or managing director body or governing body exists only head office of the garden.

Generally manager (1), assistant manager (2\3), and production manager (1\2) are located in the branch and they are higher executive authority in the specific garden. The following table represents the number of the staffs of our surveying tea garden-

Requirement for the institutional learning

For recruiting the employees, a minimum general qualifications and academic know ledges must be required. By surveying in the various tea gardens, we have got a result, which mentioned below that what are the institutional learning and experience required for getting the job.

Recruitment process

For recruiting and selecting the people the following sources are emphasized in the tea garden-

  1. Creativity and having mind to able doing anything.
  2. Sometime recommendations or referrals of present employees or executives body to be followed.
  3. Internal search is to be followed.
  4. The skilled and qualified children of the employees are over emphasized to be selected of the employee.
  5. Owners or the governing body is reference is more reliable success of recruitment in the tea garden.

Besides, general procedures of recruitment process they are followed.

Training Facilities

Training is very much important for developing human skills and knowledge. It is an educational field like academic education but it is more practical field to know about the job. The training function, how popularly called human resource development, coordinates the provision of training and development experiences in organizations. It is a learning experience in which it seems a relatively permanent change in an individual that will improve his or her ability to perform on the job. It can be typically said that training involves the changes of attitudes, knowledge, skills or social behavior. For orienting new hires, improving the current performance, preparing the employees for promotions and to adapt the employees more advanced technology and upcoming changes training for each employee is must essential. Training facilities is the tea garden is less than any other organization. There is no availble training facilities like other organization in the tea garden. A very few training are arranged only for employees. There is no any training system for lower level employees because they need not to take training for their working. They learn their jobs according to their paternal or maternal sources or because of staying within the garden or working environment.

Training facilities on Management

Management Level

For training the management level employees some training facilities are arranged by BRTC in Sreemongal. Besides, some time 2 days, 3 days, 5 days or 10 days workshop, Seminar, Seminar are arranged in the some time Bangladesh Cha Shangshad or BRTC arranged leadership skills development workshop (LSDW) for only management level.

Training for staffs

For developing the skills of the staffs in the Tea Garden, BRTC sometime arranged some training Programs like as 2/3/5/10 days workshop, seminar etc.

Training for laborers

There are no any training facilities for labors in the Tea Garden.

The persistence of human being privileges

Human or people always remain at the focal point of all the activities in the organization so the proper execution of all the activities and performance of the organization is basically depend on people. Human Resources should be utilized properly and for this organizations should focus more on Human Resources- how to improve their capability, efficiency, skills, morale, knowledge, attitude toward work, commitment, and loyal to the organization. We are concentrating on human resource management so we need to think about human rights. Human rights measurement depends on different sectors. We are not able to measure human rights theoretically and statistically, but from our minimum level of general knowledge we can get some idea of human rights that are existed in the tea estates. The levels of human rights, which are existed in different sectors for the individuals in the tea estates, are discussed below:


Education is the key to success. The education condition in the tea garden is very bad. Now days the tea garden management are observing this so that they are now providing so many opportunity for the laborers. Most of the children in several tea gardens are getting education facilities from the primary schools that are situated in the gardens. Most of them are very meritorious students and get scholarship from different institute in the garden. In some tea garden, they open night school in their garden. To teach the old age and adult labors that have not get any education. Most of them are now serving outside of the garden as a nurse, teacher, ticket counter, stationmaster etc in all over the country. However most of them being forced to leave getting education because of their surroundings. But not all garden have school. The tendency towards the education is very low. The parents of the children have the desire to give their student in school but they are unable because of poverty. Another mentionable thing is that, there is absence of good school so that the managers are reluctant to keep their children in the garden. They admitted their student in the school of town area. So the human accuracy in case of education in the tea estate is bad enough. However maximum of the labors have no education while several employees have education in primary and secondary level.

On the basis of our survey, we get some information about the education level of the worker approximately.

Population growth

Population growth rate in the garden is very high though the management of those garden de motivating them to increase the population through various publication, advertisement and providing suggestions. On the basis of our study over the four gardens, 70% workers are married and 30% are unmarried in the mirzapur tea estate. In parkul 71% are married and 29% are unmarried. In the lackatoorah 80% are married while only 20% are unmarried and in the Malnicherra 34% are married and 66% are unmarried. In case of population increasing rate, we can form a table indicating the number of children-

Most of the workers in this tea garden are unwire about their future life and most of them are illiterate and that's why they are increasing population without any future plan. Their main motive behind increasing population is that, they think that if they can increase the number of the family than each member will assign themselves in the purpose of earning for the family. They do not bother that whether the greater populations are creating a burden for the country or not. So we can say that the human privileges are unprovoked in the tea estate.

Accommodation facility

In the tea garden, all the lower level and top-level management get the accommodation facility from their particular tea garden. The top level and middle level managers as well as the lower level workers and labors are getting housing facility at no cost from the authority. They lived here from the time of getting the job. Many workers are living in the tea garden from their childhood, while some are working after getting matured or adult and some other are coming in the tea garden after their marriage. So, here we see that, the human privileges are utilizes properly.

Martial status and number of children ever born

Normally the workers family consists of more than five members. As they are not aware about their future they are to face various problem because of a large family, within a very few salary they cannot maintain their family and that's why they to bound to send their children in various job rather than in to school. Marriage is detrimental to the female workers' productivity since it increases domestic responsibility and subsequent demands on women's time. Unlike female garment workers, most female tea workers were found to be married early marriage is prevalent among them. The result of the present survey reveals that more than 94 per cent of the female workers got married at the age of 17 years or before whereas the minimum age for marriage is 18 years. About half of them got married at the age of 14 or before. Being married at such an early age, the female tea workers become mothers at a very early age as well, and on an average, they bear four children. Half of them bear more than this average number. Among the plantation workers, child mortality is found to be very high. About 56 per cent of the married female workers reported that they have at least one dead child. It can be noticed from Table 6 that three per cent of the female workers have six or more than six dead children. High rate of childbirth reduces the productivity of the female workers since it is detrimental to women's health.

Moreover, so many pregnancies demand heavily on women's time. Male workers are free from all these problems. In lackatoora 1-3 member from 77% families are working and 3-5 members from 23% family are working in this garden. In parkul, from 14% family 3-5 and more than 5 worker are working whereas 1-3 member from 71% family are working in mirzapur. 1-3 and more than 5 members from 10% family and 80% family 3-5 members are working in malnicherra. About 3-5 members from 66% families are working in the garden. So from the calculation we see that, the people are bound to do their job in the tea garden because of many deficiencies in the garden.

Legally recognized nationwide rights

Now a day's individual privileges are an unblemished issue all over the world. According to our constitution, the child work is mostly unlawful work. But in the most of the tea garden are not maintaining this law. They are appointing several children for getting some extra benefit with a very small payment. In malnicherra 90% of the worker are working from their 7 to 18 years old. In the mirzapur 30% workers are working from their 7 to 18 years old whereas 70% of the workers are working from 18 to 30 years old. About 71% of the workers are working in parkul tea estate from there 18-30 years old and 29% worker are working from their 7 to 18 years old. In lackatoora 33% of worker are working from their 18 to 30 years old and more than 35 years old again 22% are working from their 7 to 18 years old and rest are working when they are 31 to 35 years old. In that sense, we can say that, the legally recognized rights of the human being are misguided.


In the tea garden basically two types of remuneration process is existed. The workers get the wages in daily basis, and other is weekly basis. The top-level management is getting the salary on the monthly basis. The salary giving process of the garden is decided according to the management of the garden. Basically all the permanent or temporary worker get their wages on weekly basis and the management level employees and the clerical staffs and some of the sadder who are the leader of the labor side gets their salaries on monthly basis. Considering the entire employee within the garden, 90% employee of malnicherra tea estate get their wages on the day basis and others get salaries on the monthly basis.

The ratio is same in case of mirzapur and lackatoora but in parkul tea estate out of seven employees five employees getting their wages in the weekly basis and the rest of the two members are getting their wages in the monthly basis. The reason behind that is the number of sadder is higher than any other tea garden. Actually labors are getting wages on the basis of day in a week. The labors are used to work 6 days in a week and they're per day wages is fixed, i.e.- the day labor gets 30 tk per day and in a week they get 180 tk for 6 days. If they do not go to the work for their own needs than the wages for that day would be cutoff from their entire wages, in case of sick the labors get leave with payment, in that time each employee get 18 tk per day and if it is necessary than each labor get extra allowances for taking medical treatment from any medical center out side the garden.

The employee is to show all the related prescription as an evidence of his sickness. On the other hand, leafs plucking get their wages on the basis of the number of leaf in kg. However all the worker get a fixed amount per day for plucking leafs up to a certain extent and if any pluckier pluck leaf out of the limited amount than he\she will get an incentive bonus for per kg. Out of the work of plucking the other workers are engaged in draining, carpeting, washing cloth, driving car or track, work as a foreman. Their working hour is fixed i.e.- 8 hrs per day. So, most of them can work in two shift. The workers, who are working two shifts per day, will get tk. 60 per day. According to our survey the management level employees are satisfied about their salary. Besides salary they also get different incentives and fringes benefits.

The lower level salary holders like sardars and the wages earners (labors) are getting very small amount of money. It is very hard for them to carry their life by this small amount of money. So we can say that there is absence of human rights for the labors and lower level employee in terms of remuneration. Actually, maximum labors are not happy or satisfied with their current wages. Most them mentioned that they have nothing to do or they have no alternatives to do, so they are working in those gardens. In this regard the managers said that, the labors are getting much wages. According to them, labors are getting housing facility, water facility, free fire wood for cooking, ration facility which are impossible for a day worker that are working in the town or in other sector like- garments factory, sugar factory, paper mills etc.

Besides all these, the workers think that, the salary that they are getting is not sufficient to lead their life. They are to do other job beside their permanent job to support their family, on the other hand, most of the workers are alone in their family or the family consists of 2 or 3 members. They are to suffer a lot to lead their life by only 180 tk per week. However all the workers want more wages to lead a measurable life. So we can say that there is absence of human rights for the labors and lower level employee in terms of remuneration.

Amusement facility

In the tea garden, the entire worker has a well-established culture. From our survey we see that, any mentionable discrimination is not present in case of entertainment. All the human resources are getting entertainment facility as per their expectation. The top and middle managers get the enjoyment from the respective club. They can enjoy the entire feasible program related to their religion. 95% of the workers in those gardens are from under Hindu religion and the rest percentages are from Muslim, Bud do and Christian religion. The workers mainly enjoy the Dugapuja and Dulpurnima and in both the feasible they get extra bonus, i.e. 430 tk for both the program.

The Muslim worker can get the bonus in the time of Eid-ul-fitar, and Eid-ul-azha. Beside this the women workers get the maternity benefit. In the tea garden the worker get the 12 week leave with the payment or allowances. In Bangladesh there are seven tea valleys and each tea valley has one club. The managers are getting enjoyment from the clubs. For the labors there are registered liquor house. Some times the labors arrange different cultural programs and here the authority provides necessary support. So the enjoyment systems of T.E are in satisfactory level.

Size of household

Size of household may be a positive factor affecting the productivity of a plucking worker if there is a provision to add to the individual plucker's effort by the family members. In Kenya, productivity of a plucker is more than double of a Bangladeshi plucker mainly because of the assistance provided by the family members. But in Bangladesh, there is no such system. Therefore, in Bangladesh, the big size of a family is a negative factor affecting the productivity of female pluckers since the domestic demands of big households very high on them. However, the average size of the tea workers household is not bigger than the national average. The average size of the tea workers' household has been found to be 5.6 persons. Almost the same size of tea workers' household has been obtained from other studies on tea plantation workers. It was found that the size of the household of about half of the tea workers is more than this average size. Among the family members, 32 per cent are adult male, 30 per cent are adult female and the remaining 38 per cent are children.

Sex ratio is 98.6, which indicates male outnumbers the females. At the national level also, male outnumbered female. Most of the families are nuclear families (59 per cent). On an average, a tea worker's family has three children. About half of the currently married women have children below the age of five years. More than 10 per cent of the currently married women have children bellow the age of one year. But there is no crèche facility, whereas according to the Tea Plantation Labor Rules, 1977, “in every tea plantation, there shall be provided and maintained a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six, of women workers”. In the absence of any crèche facilities, these women cannot stay in their work place for a long time. This situation affects their productivity very badly. So we see that here also, there is lack of conciseness about the law. For this reason, the population of our country is increasing day by day.


Habit of taking alcohol among the tea plantation workers is pervasive although trade union leaders claimed that this habit decreased significantly due to their motivational activities. Traditionally, garden authorities themselves supplied alcohol among the tea workers mainly to keep them confined within the boundary of the garden. Now they have the practice of preparing their own drink known as ‘Halida'. Both men and women drink this local brew almost every evening. In general, women drink less; through during their festivals both drink profusely. This affects their productivity adversely. Moreover, it also shrinks their income substantially. In the garden, the management level also give them the alcohol, to make them more happy to do their job and can produce a large amount of tea, so we see that they are also misguided here.


The motivating the employees is very much essential for getting the more outcomes of the organizing. For increasing the efficiency or effectiveness of the employee organization must motivate the employee what even if will be essential. Motivation also requires discovering and understanding employee drives and since it originates within an individual. Positive acts performed for the organization such as creating customer satisfaction through personalized service - need to be reinforced. And employees will be more motivated when they have clear goals to achieve. Needs reinforcement, goals, expectations and feelings of equity are the main factor of motivation of employees and labors.'

Tea garden organization motivated the employee at the same way, which selected by the Bangladesh cha shongshad (BCS).

For motivating the employees following facilities are provided company:

  • Housing facilities.
  • Health facilities.
  • Fringe benefits (Bonus, compensation) etc.
  • Taking money instead of ration.
  • High salary.
  • Vacation is days in year.
  • Promotions.
  • Rewards for high performances.
  • Festival bonus (Eid/puza)
  • Increase the salary.
  • Provide vehicle facilities (car, bike)
  • Visiting in foreign countries etc.
  • For motivating the lower level employees, management provides the following facilities: -
  • Housing Facilities.
  • Festival facilities.
  • Over time working facilities.
  • Outside working facilities for temporary labors.
  • Entertainment Facilities.
  • Rations
  • Health facilities.
  • To help in crisis moment or crisis situation. Etc.

Besides if the employee avoid the responsibility or duties, management give the punishment, reduce the salary and wages etc.


Satisfaction level of human is not limited. It is like as “ The more you get, the more you want.” For this reason Man is not able to be absolutely satisfied. In the same way, the satisfaction levels other staffs as well as management level of the garden is varying from each to another. Some says high satisfied, some says satisfied and some says no comment. The average result of our survey that all management level of employee is high satisfied with their jobs. They are satisfied because of the following reason-

  • Getting high salary.
  • Getting high fringe benefits.
  • Getting job security.
  • Getting housing facilities as well as health facilities.
  • Living in excellent natural environment.
  • Having free security guard and servant.
  • Getting free vehicles facilities from the company.
  • Getting education facilities for their children.
  • Enjoying festivals, entertainments.
  • Enjoying more facilities than any other organization.


Household Income

Findings showed that 51 and 43 per cent of the household sell a part of their milk and poultry products at nearby markets. Selling homegrown fruits and vegetables is another source of family income. Findings of the present survey show that more than 15 per cent of the tea plantation families sell vegetable and fruits. In future, income from this source will be increased further as trade unions begin to supply HYV seed of various vegetables. Besides selling, they also consume their own vegetables, fruits, cattle and poultry products and thus save expenditure on these items. Selling of firewood is also an important source of income of the tea workers' household. Findings show that only 11 per cent of the households do not have any second source of income.

Findings of a survey conducted more than 10 years ago showed that 71 per cent of plantation workers used open space for defecation. Number of earning family members is another determinant of household income of the tea plantation workers. Findings show that most of the households of the tea plantation workers have more than one earning member. About 31 per cent of households have more than two earning members. Earning members are more in the female workers' households than in male workers' household. Number of earning members per family varies according to the category of garden. It was found that most of the earning members are employed in plantation work. It is mainly due to the fact that the tea industry management by agreement provides work to at least one child. Moreover, as the plantation population is geographically isolated, they find difficulty in getting jobs elsewhere. Monthly income of tea workers' households has been estimated taking all these sources of income into consideration. Findings of the survey showed that only about two per cent of the female workers as opposed to more than 24 per cent of their male counterparts did not experience any illnesses during the month prior to the interviews.

Gender Empowerment

It is mainly due to the fact that weekly wage rate and facilities in kind vary according to the category of tea garden. It can be noticed from the table that more than 57 per cent of female workers employed in the A category estate as opposed to only about 13 per cent of their counterparts employed in the C category tea estate were given cultivable land by the garden authority. Similar is the case with other sources of income. For all categories of garden, monthly household income of the tea workers has been estimated at Tk. 1896. It is very interesting to notice that there is very little difference between the monthly income of the female and male workers' households. Unlike the garment industry, where also women are heavily employed, there is no gender discrimination in the tea industry. It has been found that in the tea industry, gender discrimination is absent both in wage rate and other facilities. Whatever difference is noticed in the male and female workers' weekly income and their household income is due to difference in their efficiency. Per capita monthly household income has been estimated at only Tk 339, which is far below the per capita monthly income in the agricultural sector.

Living Conditions

The tea industry management provides each permanent worker with a house. But husband and wife do not get two houses even if they are permanently employed in the tea plantation. Workers, both male and female, have a right by tradition or convention to live in this house as a family unit and use the surrounding courtyards as a perk of their employment. Their children inherit this house after their death. Living conditions in these houses were found to very subhuman. More than five people live in a room of only 222 square feet. Cooking and living are done in the same room. It was observed during our field visit that in many cases, cows and goats are reared in a corner of the same room by building a partition. Not only is the room small, but also its windows and doors are also very small. Most of the rooms have mud walls and straw roof. In most cases, maintenance of these houses is very poor. The workers reported that the management of the garden is quite indifferent about the repair and maintenance of their houses, although the management reported that they maintain the houses they built regularly. During the rainy season, living conditions in such houses becomes deplorable since rainwater enters the room through the broken roofs. In about 33 per cent cases, the tea workers built a second room at their own expense.

It is very disappointing to know that in this age of technological development, about 68 per cent of the tea workers use open space as their toilet. More men than women use open space. Only about 19 per cent of the workers reported that they use sanitary toilet. This defecation practice has not changed over time. One alarming aspect to point out from is that about 30 per cent of workers drink water from wells. It was found that most wells are uncovered. The number of tube wells was also found to be very few. Female workers complained that due to the shortage of tube well they have to walk a long distance to collect water. It is a violation of the Tea Plantations Labor Ordinance, 1962, according to which the employer should ensure the supply of adequate quantity of pure drinking water. Very few households (a little more than 10 per cent) use electricity even though there is no supply of electricity in the labor line. But the tea workers were very honest in reporting that in most cases they use electricity illegally. All workers reported that they use firewood for cooking. Living conditions do not vary significantly according to the sex of the workers and the category of the tea estate. As can be seen from Table 4.8 workers employed in the A category gardens have little better living conditions than those employed in the B and C category estates. Brick built housing facilities and electricity facilities are comparatively more in the A category estates.

Health Status of the Tea Plantation Workers

Incidence of Diseases and Treatment Pattern

Health and productivity of the workers are highly correlated. One of the main reasons for low productivity among tea workers is their very poor health. On an average, a female worker fell ill 3.1 times during the month prior to the interviews. Whereas a male worker fell ill 2 times during the same period. The frequency of suffering from fever (particularly malaria), diarrhea/dysentery/ stomach pain, physical weakness, eye pain and headache were found to be very high. They also suffer from certain chronic diseases like gastric and urinary tract infection, chest pain, etc. Tuberculosis was also found to be prevalent among them. It is, however, very encouraging that 95 per cent of the sick female workers and more than 83 per cent of sick the male workers took treatment for their illnesses. The tea garden management is responsible for providing the workers with all kinds of treatment facilities. Above Figure show that 79 per cent of the sick workers took treatment from the garden's doctor, hospital or clinic. But the workers were found to be unhappy with the quality of treatment provided by the garden authority. They reported that the same tablet is given for all types of fever. In most cases, there are no pathological facilities. They complained that the number of doctors and clinics are also very inadequate. Absence of female doctors in the clinics and hospitals is a great problem for the female workers.

However, the garden management thinks that they are providing adequate health facilities. They complained that in many cases the workers pretended to be sick to avail the paid sick leave. They said that it was observed that by taking sick leave the workers, particularly male workers, work elsewhere to earn some extra money. But our observation during field visits revealed that this complaint is not always true since some female workers (three workers) were found working even though they were suffering either from temperature or upset stomach. They told that they were not granted leave due to peak season of plucking. It can be seen that yearly per capita health expenditure of the Sterling Companies (which spend on workers' health far more than national companies) on workers is only Tk. 610. Health expenditure per month per worker has been estimated at around only Tk. 50, whereas a female garment worker's health expenditure per month is Tk. 129. Many female workers complained that they did not get proper care during their pregnancies. They complained that reproductive health care facilities are not adequate. In most cases, there is no trained Dai (mid-wife) and therefore, delivery usually took place at home with the help of a quack Dai. Antenatal and post-natal care is also minimal. However, the availability of vaccination for the mother is good to some extent. It was found that 84 per cent of the new mother workers got vaccinated. Rate of immunization of tea workers' children is also high compared to the national average.

Constraints in the Process of Organizing Tea Plantation Workers

The trade union leaders mentioned a number of reasons for their non-performance and inefficiency in organizing the tea plantation workers. Among these problems the dominant ones are as follows:

  • Socio-cultural and religious barriers; Prevalence of large-scale superstitions among tea workers;
  • Prevalence of large-scale lack of awareness among tea workers, particularly
  • Among the female workers about their legal rights and the role and function of the unions;
  • Very low education among female tea workers;
  • Lack of leadership;
  • Bonded nature of labor in the past did not allow the tea workers to raise their collective voice;
  • Tea worker are reluctant to come out of their geographical confinement since they are ethnically different from the majority community;
  • Female workers' limited commitment to work;
  • Inability of the existing laws to protect temporary workers; and
  • Lack of direct linkage or involvement of Cha Sramik Union with the mainstream trade union movement

In addition to these problems, inefficiency of the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) to enforce plantation legislation is largely responsible for the non-performance of the Cha Sramik Union. The Department of Factories and Establishment under the Ministry of Labor and Manpower is the implementing agency for all the labor laws and rules. It has an office at Srimangal, the heartland of the tea industry in Bangladesh. This Department is responsible for catering to the tea industry on all aspects relating to:

Safety, health, welfare, terms of employment and social security of the workers; prosecution in the courts against any violation of labor laws; assisting the GOB in policy formulation on enforcement of plantation labor laws and framing amendments to labor laws and rules thereon. If this Department does these jobs properly then most of the demands included in the memorandum of agreement will be fulfilled since all these demands are to be found in the tea plantation labor laws. However, this Department was found to be very inefficient in performing its jobs. The department of Inspection of Factories reported that it can not perform its jobs efficiently mainly due to the shortage of inspectors and vehicles. On an average, an inspector has to cover 30-40 tea estates in a year, whereas the Chief Inspector of Factories prescribed only one estate per inspector. Moreover, he is not provided with a vehicle and has to use his own bicycle. Under these circumstances the enforcement status of plantation labor laws can be well imagined.

Other necessary information that we found

  • Malnicherra tea estate is the first tea garden of Bangladesh, which was established in 1854.
  • The labors get very small amount of money that is not satisfactory for them.
  • The labor get wages, the amount is Tk- 30(daily)\Tk-180 (weekly).
  • The payment of the labor in made weekly.
  • The labor gets the festival bonus, health facility, and entertainment facility from the tea garden.
  • The labors work for 8 hours a day at an average.
  • The workers get alcohol from the registered liquor house but they have to pay for it.
  • There are temporary and registered labors in the tea garden.
  • Sardar are appointed by the garden to supervise the labor.
  • The manager teaches the labor how to plucking.
  • The maximum labors are Hindu in the tea garden.
  • The management level is satisfied with their salary.
  • The manager gets a handsome salary from the tea garden.
  • All the employee of the tea garden the housing, amusement facility, from the tea garden.
  • The workers receive ration and free medical service from the authority.
  • If any problem occurs either at work or not at work, the management and the authorities look after and solve the problem at a very short notice.
  • For the entertainment of employees each valley has one club.
  • Rehabilitation of sick garden has not yet been undertaken by the government
  • Shortage of both electricity and gas supply.
  • Theft of green leaves, cutting of shade trees, encroachment by outsiders, etc continue to take place due to absence of favorable law and order situation.
  • Sometimes the management levels are dissatisfied with the behavior of the labor.


(a) Promoting Social Dialogue through Informal Workers' Organizations

Tea plantation workers have a great potential for organizing themselves informally since a certain degree of solidarity has been observed among them in the form of Samity or Khel. Findings of our survey show that 47 per cent of the surveyed tea plantation workers are members of Samity or a Khel. This organization has been drawn mainly on section or labor line (residence of workers). It has been found that significantly more women than men are members of the Samity or Khel. Tea workers may be organized more effectively through these informal associations. These associations should be given formal shape by linking them with Cha Sramik Union through its garden unit Panchayet. These can serve as branch units or section units of the Cha Sramik Union. A garden is very big both in terms of area and workers. A Panchayet consisting of only 10-20 members is too small to organize all workers on a tea estate. Hence, samity or khel, which is organized, on the basis of section or labor lines may be an effective agent of the Panchayet to protect the workers. Mothers' club will be a complementary organization of the Panchayet. It will address women's issues that are not addressed by the Panchayet. Under this organizational arrangement the structure of the Tea Plantation Workers' Organization will be as follows:

(b) Providing Awareness Raising Training and Social Protection Through

Section or Labor Line Based Trade Unions

Findings showed that lack of large-scale awareness about social dialogue is prevalent among the tea plantation workers. Hence, to make the social dialogue a success, workers' awareness about social dialogue and their involvement in it should be increased. Section or labor line based trade unions will be very effective in developing organizing ability among their members since these organisations can plant a sense of solidarity among the members. Because of this sense of solidarity among the members, this type of unit organisation can easily teach their members how to raise collective voice. It can also teach its members how to fight with the employers to achieve the workers' right to ‘decent work'.

This organisation will also be effective in providing education and training on leadership, group management and awareness raising which are conducive to raising their collective bargaining power. In addition, through these unit organisations, tea workers, particularly female tea workers, can receive social protection in terms of health care, child care, skill training, etc. Thus, the Cha Sramik Union can easily get involved in welfare activities through this type of organisation. Moreover, welfare-oriented activities will make the existence of the union visible and indispensable to the tea plantation workers. In this regard, it is recommended that the Welfare Grant created under the Bangladesh Cha Sramik Kalyan Fund Ordinance, 1986, should be at the disposal of the Cha Sramik Union so that the union can begin its welfare activities.

(c) Mothers' Club of the Cha Sramik Union should do welfare activities together with its motivational activities

Mother's Club of the BCSU has been organised to provide motivational services among the women tea plantation workers. It is recommended that Mothers' Club run by the Cha Sramik Union should embark on welfare activities together with its motivational activities. It was observed from our field visits and the results of our survey that female tea workers are motivated enough to send their children to school. It was further observed that significantly more female workers than their male counterparts expressed their aspirations regarding their children's education (see Table 4.4). But they reported that due to the shortage of educational facilities they could not send their children to school. Hence, Mother's Club should start some schools at convenient places. In the same way, Mother's Club should supply HYV seeds to its members while motivating and educating them about nutrition. Findings of the present survey showed that reproductive heath facilities are scarce in the tea estate areas. Therefore, Mothers' Club should educate female workers about reproductive health and also provide reproductive health care facilities.

There is ample scope in the tea estate to start some small businesses like tailoring, shop keeping, cattle and poultry farming. But the tea workers, particularly the female workers, cannot undertake these businesses on a large scale due to shortage of funds. Findings of the present survey show that very few NGOs, who generally give small credit, work among the tea population. Hence, Mother's Club can help augment the female workers' income significantly if it provides them with small credit.

(d) There should be more than one bargaining agent for the tea workers

Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union is the only bargaining agent for the tea plantation workers for the last few decades. For this reason some dictatorial power may grow in this organization affecting the welfare of the workers. Therefore, at least two bargaining agents should be there on behalf of the workers

(e) The Cha Sramik Union should appeal to the Minimum Wage Board (MWB) for Determination of the New Rate of Minimum Wage for the Plantation Sector

It was observed that the Cha Sramik Union failed to ensure minimum wage for the tea plantation workers. Wage rates of the tea plantation workers are far less than that of agricultural labor. According to the Agricultural Labor (Minimum Wages) Ordinance 1984, the minimum rate of wages for agricultural labor per day has been fixed at 3.27 kg. of rice or such amount of money as is equal to the price of this quantity of rice in the local market. At the current price of coarse rice this amount of rice comes to about Tk.45. But plantation workers' wage rate does not equal to this amount even after their fringe benefits and benefits in kind are taken into consideration.

Moreover, the present wage rate in the plantation sector, when adjusted for inflation, comes far below the minimum wage rate fixed by the Minimum Wage Board in 1987 for this sector. In 1987, the minimum wage rate for adult male and female plantation workers employed in the A category tea estates was fixed at Tk.14.50. In 2001 this rate reached 26.75, whereas, in the past 14 years (1987-2001), the price of everything has risen several times. Under the circumstances, according to the Minimum Wage Legislation 1961, the Cha Sramik Union should appeal to the Minimum Wage Board (MWB) for determination of the new rate of minimum wage for the plantation sector.

(f) Social dialogue between the Cha Sangsad and the Cha Sramik Union should be more gender sensitive since majority of the plantation workers are women

Social dialogue between the Cha Sangsad and the Cha Sramik Union should be more gender sensitive since the majority of the plantation workers are women. Moreover, female tea plantation workers face the following problems, which are unique to them.

  • Carrying the heavy bag of green tea leaf over a long distance;
  • Continuous plucking while standing with bare feet;
  • Prevalence of large scale fatigue;
  • Caring of small children;
  • Reproductive health problems;
  • High rate of fertility;
  • Early marriage; and
  • Early motherhood.

Social dialogue between the Cha Sangsad and the Cha Sramik Union should address these special problems of female workers. Mothers' Club should be active in the social dialogue to address these women's issues.

(g) Employers must create socially congenial working environment in the work place

It was observed that till now the tea industry management has not been able to give up their feudal mentality, which was inherited from the British owners of the tea estates.

Due to this attitude, the tea workers could not attain dignity of life and this is one of the constraints affecting their collective bargaining. To make the social dialogue a success, the employers must create socially congenial working environment in the work place.

For this purpose, cordial social relation has to be created between the management and workers. For this the management and the workers should talk openly and fearlessly with each other. The management has to take the initiative to break through the fear of the workers. For this purpose, top-ranking management personnel should visit the workplace and labor line frequently. The management should also arrange some social functions such as annual picnics.

(h) Employers must abide by the Memorandum of Agreement

To make the social dialogue a success the Bangladehiyo Cha Sangsad (an employers' association) must engage its member employers to abide by the Memorandum of Agreement signed between this association and the Cha Sramik Union. For this purpose it may take some incentive measures. In addition, the tea industry management should sponsor regular legal literacy programs, since legal literacy not only raises the organizing ability of the workers, but in the process also raises their commitment to work.

Government of Bangladesh must be diligent in implementing the labor laws and must take action to solve various problems faced by the tea plantation sector in Bangladesh The Government must also be a party to social dialogue. Much of its success depends up on the Government's performance in enforcing various laws relating to tea plantation. Findings showed that the government is very inefficient in enforcing plantation laws. Hence, the Government must be diligent in implementing labor laws and undertake measures to strengthen the judicial process and enforcement machinery, including sanctions against defaulters

The Government should take into consideration the 12-point Charter of Demands placed by the Cha Sramik Union and take action to implement the most important ones. The Government should also take action to implement the long-term plan (20-year plan) recently prepared by the Bangladesh Tea Board for development of the tea plantation sector. Supply of electricity in the tea estate will reduce a number of hazards like snake bite arising from walking in the dark. Electricity also has an immense positive impact on women's time use. Hence, the Government must resolve to supply electricity in the tea estates. It should also take action to supply gas in the tea estate. Supply of gas also has a similar positive impact on the time use of female workers. Moreover, supply of gas in the tea estate will protect our environment from degradation arising from large-scale cutting of trees for firewood.

The Government should also allocate resources to provide the plantation workers, particularly the women workers with specialized education and training in areas such as leadership, health education, legal literacy, and occupational hazards and safety measures. To ensure the health security of the plantation workers, particularly female workers, the Government could also introduce a compulsory health insurance scheme.

(j) NGO should be invited to work among the tea plantation workers

The NGO sector in Bangladesh has proved to be very efficient in providing social protection to women and the poor in general. Therefore, various NGOs may be invited to provide social protection including health care service, education and skill training to female plantation workers. However, in providing social protections, NGOs must work together with the trade union (Cha Sramik Union). It was observed that the trade union leaders are not fully aware of the laws, particularly plantation laws. Detailed legal knowledge is a very important weapon for the trade union to fight with the employers since if it can explain the law properly, it is very difficult for the employers to escape from his duty. Hence, the trade union leader and activists must have a thorough knowledge of the laws of the country.

NGOs can effectively arrange training on legal literacy for trade union leaders and activists. Unions and, above all, the general workers - must work together to make the social dialogue a success. However, social dialogue can not be successful, unless all the parties to social dialogue the Government, the employers, the trade unions and, above all, the general workers — work together. Collective action from all these parties can solve the problems of the plantation workers, which will, in turn, prepare the country to be competitive in the world market. All these parties together may undertake a package scheme to provide plantation workers social protection including health insurance, health care services, skill training, and credit and savings facilities. The scheme should also include general education, health education, and legal assistance. All this will empower the tea plantation workers to be involved with trade unionism actively and thereby raise a strong collective voice against their exploitation.

Through most of the workers are not satisfied by their wages that are given to them, they love their garden very much. As they are working in this garden from their boyhood they are familiar to every person surroundings them. The relationship among the worker and the relationship among the worker and sadder is very good but most of the worker have no good relation with the manager. We found that many workers in the garden that are working in the garden from many years who yet not speak with the manager. Overall this they want something from the higher authority, these are discussed below-

Employee point of view:

  • Employee said that, there is a lacking of unconsciousness of the higher authority.
  • There is a shortage of the labor in the garden.
  • There is no modern technology used in plucking, for this the number of production is not increased.
  • There are some managers who said us to increase the employment opportunities for the idol labors.
  • They said that, there is no well-decorated office room for them. So they want to change the interior decoration of the office.
  • They also want the computer facility to calculate their annual production and also do their specific job.

Worker point of view:

Our point of view

  • They need more salary.
  • They needs more heath facility, though it is given by the tea garden, actually, it is just for saying, not in practically.
  • They want to do job outside of the garden, because, in some tea garden, the higher authority, do not get them chance to do job in outside.
  • They want pure drinking water, which is not available in the garden.
  • They want a healthy sanitation facility.
  • Give more salary to the lower level employee.
  • Introduce new modern technology.
  • Give education facility to the worker.
  • Give the heath facility to the worker.
  • Do not cut the wages of the labor if they are unable to come in the work due to their illness.
  • Recruit more experienced and energetic employee.
  • Arrange the training facility to the employee.
  • NGO should be invited to work among the tea plantation workers
  • NGO's should take the necessary steps for the betterment of the workers.
  • Government of Bangladesh must be diligent in implementing the labor laws and must take action to solve various problems faced by the tea plantation sector in Bangladesh
  • All the employee must be abide by the law of the country.


On the way of making this project we faced a lots of limitations. They are as follows:

  • Time was very short that we got from the Manager from the ABBL.
  • As our class hour in between 8a.m to 2p.m. It becomes very hard for us to manage time to visits the gardens.
  • As this type works is very rare in Sylhet, so some employees were hesitated to answer the questions.
  • As this project is related with some confidential matter of the garden, so that first of all they are ignoring to give information.
  • It needs a huge amount of money.
  • In time of preparing the project, we face some political disturbance for this it kills our valuable time.


Low yield and high cost characterize the tea industry of Bangladesh. Both demand and supply factors are responsible for this situation. Bangladesh has very little control over demand factors. Therefore, to raise the productivity of the tea sector, Bangladesh has to largely depend on improving the supply factors. On the supply side, yield per acre is the crucial variable, which largely depends on various factors such as the age/structure of the tea bush, quality and quantity of fertilizer used per hectare, irrigation and labor productivity. Productivity of the tea plantation workers in Bangladesh is far less than that of the other tea producing countries in Asia and Africa.

Findings of the present study show that in addition to crop yield, a large number of factors have contributed to the low productivity of tea plantation workers in Bangladesh. Among these factors, socio-cultural and religious barriers; geographical isolation and bonded nature of workers, very low education and poor health status of the workers; extremely inadequate wages and fringe benefits; low quality and quantity of benefits in kind; and in congenial working conditions are the most influential ones. In addition of these factors, three other factors, namely absence of reproductive health facilities, absence of crèche facilities and lack of plucking amenities have contributed to low productivity among women who account for the majority of the plantation workforce.


Alam A.F.M. Glimpses on Bangladesh Tea and BTRI, Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI), Srimangal, Maulavibazar.

BCS. Bangladeshiyo Cha Sangsad, Annual Report 2003-2004.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Jain, N.K. Economic Parameters of Tea in Relation to Global Advances in Tea Science and Technology,

Paper presented in the International Conference held in Delhi, India, October, 1996.

Khan, M.R.1991. Primary Health care Status of the Tea Estate Population, a study conducted for the Bangladesh Tea Rehabilitation Project, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

An economic profile of the tea estate managed by Bangladesh tea board: A case study, statistics and economics division, Bangladesh tea research institute(BRTI), Srimangal, Maulavibazar.





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