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State owned jute mill workers go on hunger strike December 10

  • Published at 11:14 pm December 4th, 2019
Narsingdi-Jute-Mils-Dhormohgot--03.12
Workers stage a demonstration outside UMC Jute Mills in Narsingdi during a 24-hr workers’ strike in Narsingdi on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The letter issued to the president and general secretary of the workers union, also warned that the fund of Tk100 crore meant to repay accrued wages and salaries may be rescinded if the protest campaigns continued

Workers of state owned jute mills pledged harsher programs, including a hunger strike on December 10, if the government did not meet their 11 point demands.

Mill owners sent a letter to labour leaders on Wednesday demanding they withdraw the work abstention campaigns as the government has agreed to disburse Tk100 crore to pay arrears in worker wages.

The letter issued to the president and general secretary of the workers union, also warned that the fund of Tk100 crore meant to repay accrued wages and salaries may be rescinded if the protest campaigns continued.

Md Golam Rabbani, project director of Platinum Jute Mills in Khalishpur industrial Area, said mill owners had met with chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation regarding the matter in Dhaka, on Wednesday.

State owned jute mills CBA and non-CBA Sangram Parishad Joint Convener Murad Hossain said the fund of Tk100 crore to repay worker wages was only one of  11 points. Their protest will continue until all of them were met, he added.

The demands include implementation of the national wage commission, repeal of public-private partnership (PPP), and payment of gratuities to retired factory workers and staff.

Sources said the nine state owned jute mills in Khulna owe workers 10-11 weeks of wages amounting to Tk44.22 crore, and officers have to be paid four months of wages to the tune of Tk9.84 crore, all totaling Tk54.7 crore.

The workers announced their protest program on November 23. According to their program, they would take out a procession and go on strike on December 2 and 3 respectively. 

The jute mill workers are also scheduled a rally for December 8, and a hunger strike on December 10, staging sit-ins in front of the main gates of the mills.

Abdul Hamid Sardar, convener of CBA and non-CBA Sangram Parishad, said the workers staged countless protests and organized strikes demanding payment of all their wages and other dues, but to no avail so far.