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State-owned jute mill workers go on strike with 11-point demand

  • Published at 12:43 pm November 18th, 2019
web-narsingdi jute mill
CBA General Secretary Akhtaruzzaman speaks during a protest at Bangladesh Jute Mills Limited in Palash upazila, Narsingdi on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Their demands include setting up a wage commission and payment of overdue wages

Workers of state-owned jute mills across Bangladesh have called a 24-hour strike on December 3 to press their 11-point demand, one of which includes setting up of a wage commission.

The decision was made after a day-long meeting by leaders of the Jute Mills Workers’ League and CBA, non-CBA Sangram Parishad at the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) office on Sunday.

Their demands include the establishment of a wage commission, payment of wages in due time, and adequate government investment in the jute industry.

Md Murad Hossain, ex-president of Crescent Jute Mill, confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.

He said: “We will announce a seven-day demonstration at 9am on November 23, Saturday, after holding gate meetings in front of jute mills around the country, including mills at Khulna and Jessore.”

“Later, on November 24, we will start our demonstration with a two-hour-long procession and hunger strike. On November 27, we will hold a symbolic hunger strike in front of the mill gates from 8am till 4pm. On December 2, we will hold a rally in support of our demonstration.”

The 24-hour demonstration will begin at 6am on December 3 and end at 6am on December 4, said Murad, adding that the protesters will again gather in front of the mill gates at 4pm on December 4 and plan further demonstrations if their demands are not met.

“The jute mill workers and their families are suffering immensely due to outstanding wages. They are unable to bear the cost of their childrens’ education and buy daily necessities,” Din Muhammad, president of Khalishpur Jute Mill said.

“The workers are unhappy because of their long unmet demand of a wage commission. Moreover, jute mill workers around the country have wages overdue by 9-10 weeks, which is the main cause behind their distress,” said Platinum Jute Mill General Secretary Humayun Kabir.

The Dhaka meeting was chaired by Abdul Hamid Sardar of Jute Mills Workers’ League and CBA, non-CBA Sangram Parishad.

Arifur Rahman, publicity secretary of Patkal Sramik League anchored the meeting. Abdul Mannan and Bellal Hossain of Star Jute Mill, Alauddin Ahmed of Eastern Jute Mill, Deen Mohammed of Khalishpur Jute Mill, and Sahana Sarmeen of Platinum Jute Mill, among others, were present.

Jute mill workers’ unrest

On October 30, Jute mill workers of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Limited in Palash upazila, Narsingdi, demonstrated to press home their nine point demand, which included the resignation of Textiles and Jute Minister, Golam Dastagir Gazi.

Their demands also included the implementation of the National Wage and Productivity Commission Award 2015, paying the weekly hires nine weeks of outstanding wages, and outstanding salaries of the last 3 months for permanent workers.

On May 2019, the workers of Latif Bawani Jute Mills, and Karim Jute Mills, held a demonstration at the Demra Staff Quarter roads, and Chaurasta, demanding payment of their outstanding wages.

Workers said they were protesting to have their nine-point demands met, which includes payment of due wages, and arrears.