• Sunday, Sep 15, 2019
  • Last Update : 06:20 pm

Jute mill workers go for indefinite strike

Jute mill workers
File Photo: Jute mill workers, wielding wooden and bamboo sticks, protest blocking a road in Demra, Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The workers plan to block the roads and railways every day during the strike

Jute mill workers across the country went for an indefinite strike across mill zones in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Jessore yesterday to realize their nine-point demand including payment of all arrears and implementation of the National Wage and Productivity Commission Award 2015.

Declining to join their workplaces since yesterday morning, mill workers in Khulna gathered in front of the administrative building of Khalishpur Crescent Jute Mill and later took to the street venting out their anger by burning tyres.

The Khulna regional unit of the Bangladesh Patkol Sramik League president Md Murad Hossain said the work stoppage began at all jute mills across Bangladesh from Monday and it will continue until the salary arrears are paid.

Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) General Secretary Md Shohrab Hossain of Crescent Jute Mills Limited said the protest initiated in Khulna is spreading across the country and it will continue until the demands are met.

Later at 3pm, workers from Crescent, Platinum, Star, Doulatpur, Alim, Eastern, Carpeting and JJI jute mill workers started the demonstration by gathering in front of respective jute mill gates. Later, they assembled and took position on the Khulna-Jessore highway where they observed a previously announced movement by blocking the roads and railways from 4pm to 7pm.

Jute mill workers in Dhaka block road for three hours

Jute mill workers in Dhaka yesterday blocked the streets with the similar demands.

Arifur Rahman, publicity secretary of Patkal Sramik League, a pro-government platform of jute mill workers, said that they will be on road and observe work absentia till such time they get all payments.

He claimed that workers from Latif Bawany Jute Mills Limited and Karim Jute mills blocked the road from 4pm till 7pm.

Chittagong jute mill workers on indefinite work abstention

Several thousand workers of the Amin Jute Mill went on an indefinite work abstention on Monday to press home their demand of paying off the outstanding salaries and implementing the wage commission.  

Md Kamal Uddin, Office Secretary of Amin Jute Mill CBA told Dhaka Tribune that salaries and wages of some 4000 workers of Amin Jute Mill have remained unpaid for the last 12 weeks.

"To press home the demands, the workers have gone on an indefinite work stoppage. Besides, the workers blocked off the Muradpur-Hathazari Road for two hours from 5pm. The workers also had their iftar and offered Magrib prayers after blocking the road," said the workers' leader, adding that the workers also staged demonstrations in front of the mill gate.

What brought jute mill workers to streets?

Jute mill workers have been protesting since March 13 to realize their nine-point demand that include their salaries and allowances be paid, the wage commission be implemented, sufficient funds be allocated for the jute sector, sacked workers be reappointed, and appointments be made permanent.

The workers' wages are due for past 11 weeks while other employees' salaries are four months overdue.

On April 15, the Jute Mills Workers League called for a four-hour road and railway blockade program and 96-hour strike to press home their nine-point demand, which includes clearing the payment of outstanding wages for all jute mill workers.

Jute Mills Workers League, CBA and non-CBA leaders had a meeting with State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian.

It was decided at the meeting that ten weeks’ wages and three months’ salaries of all jute mill workers would be paid by April 25.

When BJMC failed to pay by April 25, workers across 26 state-owned jute mills became aggrieved.

State Minister Begum Monnujan Sufian had met the workers’ leaders and asked for a week to resolve the matter.

However, the promise was not fulfilled, prompting the workers to take to the streets.

On May 7, the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment asked the Labour and Employment Ministry to take necessary measures to give out wage slips to state-run jute mill workers, starting May 18. 

The committee also ordered fixing their wages by May 17.