• Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 07:44 pm

Jute mill workers suspend strike

  • Published at 10:23 pm May 21st, 2019
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Angry workers set fire to car tyres and block vehicular movement at the BIDC road, Khulna during a protest on Sunday, May 5, 2019 File photo/Dhaka Tribune

BJMC assures that the outstanding dues will be paid before the Eid

Workers of nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna-Jessore region suspended their indefinite strike across the country after getting assurance that their demands would be met.

Md Khalilur Rahman, joint secretary of Jute Mill CBA and Non-CBA Unity Council (JMCNUC) and also Platinum Jute Mill CBA president made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, after meeting senior Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) officials and the district administration.

In the tripartite meeting, the BJMC assured the outstanding dues will be paid before Eid-ul-Fitr, and implement the wage commission and other demands of the workers in phases.

Dues of two weeks will be paid this week, and the rest in the next week, the workers were told.

Later in the evening, leaders of JMCNUC and Khulna-Jessore Workers League sat at another meeting to discuss whether they should suspend their strike based on just assurances. 

After this meeting, Khulna Jute Mill Workers’ League President Murad Hossain confirmed that they would suspend their indefinite strike for a week and resume production from Wednesday morning.

What brought jute mill workers to the streets?

Jute mill workers have been protesting since March 13 to press home their nine-point demand that includes: 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 have been due for the past 11 weeks, while salaries of other employees' are four months overdue.

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

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

At the meeting, the participants agreed that 10 weeks’ wages and three months’ salaries of all  the mill workers would be paid by April 25.

When BJMC failed to pay the dues by April 25, workers of 26 state-owned jute mills became agitated.

The state minister 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 the mill workers from May 18. The committee also ordered that their wages be fixed by May 17.