In total, Tk1,677 crore will be paid out to the workers
The government has started paying their dues to the retired, terminated and transferred workers of jute mills in the Khulna zone.
Begum Monnujan Sufian, minister of state for labour and employment, distributed arrears to 45 such workers on Monday afternoon at an event at the Officers’ Club of Khalishpur Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills in Khulna.
At least Tk1,677 crore will be paid out to these three kinds of workers, including the 15,000 who lost their jobs after seven state-owned jute mills were closed on July 1 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), 10,364 terminated workers will receive Tk1,162.31 crore through golden handshake, 4,680 retired workers will be provided with Tk372.40 crore, and 21,351 transferred workers will receive Tk114.92 crore.
Besides, the workers are owed Tk27.64 crore in wages.
“In order to bring back the past glory of the golden fibre Jute, production in private and state owned jute mills should go hand in hand,” said Monnujan Sufian.
She added: “Production only under the BJMC has been terminated while most of the mills are under a process of being opened through Government-to-Government (G2G), Public Private Partnership (PPP) and leasing.”
Acknowledging the contribution of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in developing the jute sector over the years, the minister of state said: “Jute mills had been shut for a long time on account of losses but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reopened most of them.”
“However, negligence on the part of the jute mill authorities was responsible for the losses the government suffered after reopening the mills, not because of the workers. The mill authorities could not maintain the quality the workers could offer,” she said.
She added: “Workers are going to be paid 13% to 27% more than what we owe them through their personal bank accounts, so that brokers or jute mill authorities cannot influence their way into the payment.”
Over Tk216.28 crore will be paid to the workers through personal bank accounts and over Tk214.84 crore will be distributed through savings certificates every three months.
On June 26, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi announced the closure of 25 jute mills under the BJMC from July 1, and with that decision, 24,886 permanent workers were sent into retirement through the golden handshake.
Later, following a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the closure of the state-owned jute mills and payment of dues, the ministry said on July 2 that the workers of the closed mills would get an average of Tk13.86 lakh and a maximum of Tk54 lakh as compensation.