• Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:42 pm

Jute mill workers continue hunger strike, 7 hospitalized

Khulna Jute Mill workers
File photo: Jute mill workers at a hunger strike in Khulna on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The hunger strike is still ongoing

Around seven people have been hospitalized as state-owned jute mill workers in Khulna, Jessore, and Narsingdi have continued their hunger strike for the second consecutive day.

The workers have been taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital on Wednesday morning.

Workers of 24 state-owned jute mills, out of the 26 which are under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), began the strike on Tuesday afternoon. The workers, along with their dependants, are currently still carrying on with the strike under the banner of CBA-Non CBA Sangram Parishad.

In Khulna and Jessore industrial areas, several workers from nine state-owned jute mills -- Star, Platinum, Crescent, Alum, Eastern, Carpeting and three others -- fell sick after almost 21 hours of starvation, and were administered intravenous saline.

Examining the ill workers, the healthcare worker of Khalishpur jute mill, Shyamoli Mandal, said: "The workers are also suffering from low blood pressure."

One of the sick workers,

Platinum Jute Mill CBA President Shahana Sharmin said: "The workers hoped that they will come to a resolution during the meeting with the chairman; however, they were disappointed again. As a result, they went to a hunger strike."

Jessore Jute Industries (JJI) Labour Union Treasurer Israil Sarder said the jute mill workers of Jessore are also continuing the protest.

In Narsingdi, thousands of jute mill workers, including workers of UMC jute mill, have continued   Tuesday’s hunger strike as well.

All activities in the jute mills have come to a standstill due to the protests. No jute laden trucks or any jute mill officials were allowed to enter the mills on Wednesday.

Besides, traffic movement has been severely hindered as workers have positioned themselves near the main gate of the UMC jute mill.

Workers' union leaders during the strike said that non-payment of wages had led them to destitution, therefore they were protesting to press home their 11-point demand.

Their demands include implementation of the National Wage Commission, payment of all weekly wages, adequate budgetary allocation for the jute sector and ensuring sale of jute products, payment of the outstanding provident fund and gratuity to retired workers and settlement of insurance benefits to the families of the deceased workers, recruitment of workers, regularization of temporary workers, reinstatement of sacked workers, and balancing, modernizing, rehabilitating, and expanding the jute mills for better productivity.

Platinum Jute Mill CBA President Shahana Sharmin said: "The workers hoped that they will come to a resolution during the meeting with the chairman; however, they were disappointed again. As a result, they went to a hunger strike."

Jessore Jute Industries (JJI) Labour Union Treasurer Israil Sarder said the jute mill workers of Jessore are also continuing the protest.

In Narsingdi, thousands of jute mill workers, including workers of UMC jute mill, have continued   Tuesday’s hunger strike as well.

All activities in the jute mills have come to a standstill due to the protests. No jute laden trucks or any jute mill officials were allowed to enter the mills on Wednesday.

Besides, traffic movement has been severely hindered as workers have positioned themselves near the main gate of the UMC jute mill.

Workers' union leaders during the strike said that non-payment of wages had led them to destitution, therefore they were protesting to press home their 11-point demand.

Their demands include implementation of the National Wage Commission, payment of all weekly wages, adequate budgetary allocation for the jute sector and ensuring sale of jute products, payment of the outstanding provident fund and gratuity to retired workers and settlement of insurance benefits to the families of the deceased workers, recruitment of workers, regularization of temporary workers, reinstatement of sacked workers, and balancing, modernizing, rehabilitating, and expanding the jute mills for better productivity.

Hafiza Begum, said she had not eaten anything since Tuesday morning. Now, her legs have stopped supporting her.

Workers’ leader Sohrab Hossain said: "Most of the laborers have fallen ill, and many of them were provided with saline. More saline has been brought in."

Photo shows jute mill workers at a hunger strike in Khulna | Dhaka Tribune

Platinum Jute Mill CBA President Shahana Sharmin said: "The workers hoped that they will come to a resolution during the meeting with the chairman, however they were disappointed again. As a result, they went to a hunger strike."

Jessore Jute Industries (JJI) Labour Union Treasurer Israil Sarder said the jute mill workers of Jessore are also continuing the protest.

In Narsingdi, thousands of jute mill workers, including workers of UMC jute mill, have continued the hunger strike that began on Tuesday.

All activities in the jute mills have to a standstill due to the protests. No jute laden trucks or any jute mill officials were allowed to enter the mills on Wednesday.

Besides, traffic movement has ended up in a stalemate as workers have positioned themselves near the main gate of the UMC jute mill.

Workers' union leaders during the strike said that non-payment of wages had led them to lead destitute lives, which led them to stage protests for pressing home their 11-point demand.

Their demands include implementation of the National Wage Commission, payment of all weekly wages, adequate budgetary allocation for the jute sector and buying adequate jute on season, payment of the outstanding provident fund and gratuity to retired workers and settlement insurance benefits to the families of the deceased workers, recruitment of workers, regularization of temporary workers, reinstatement of sacked workers, and balancing, modernizing, rehabilitating and expansion of jute mills for better productivity.