Jute mill workers set to protest

Jute mill workers of the country are set to launch an indefinite hunger strike at the gates of the country’s 26 jute mills across the country in protest against the government decision of privatizing all the 26 jute mills of the country, said sources.

According to a press release, workers affiliated to Jatiyo Sramik Federation and some other labour organisations are set to stage demonstration at the gates of the country’s 26 jute mills across the country to press their demand of cancelling the government decision.

However, a group of labour leaders on Monday agreed to the government decision of golden handshake with the country’s 25,000 jute mill workers on compulsory leave after a meeting with the authorities concerned.

Protests at different jute mills across the country were held on Tuesday, as human chains were formed and protest processions were brought out in different jute mills across the country against the privatisation of jute mills.

It is to be noted, in the wake of protests by jute mill workers across the country, the labor leaders sat in a meeting with the state minister of labor at Shramik Bhaban on Monday. After an hour-long meeting, they said they would accept the government's decision.

State minister for labor and employment Begum Mannujan Sufian called upon the workers to accept the government’s decision and cooperate the implementation of such decision.

She also said that the existing workers who have been laid off will get job opportunities on priority basis once the reformation is completed. At the same time, new opportunities will also be created there.

However, before sending them to voluntary retirement, the government will pay all their due salaries, provident fund, gratuity and others.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed to pay all the money in one cheque so that the outgoing workers do not face any financial difficulties during this period.

Meanwhile, during the protest, the jute mill workers said, “The government such decision will unemployment many people who are the only earning member of a family. As a result, thousands of families will be helpless”.

However, they are urging the government to modernize the jute mills at a cost of Tk 1,200 crore without closing them at a cost of Tk 6,000 crore.

At the same time, they also demanded to pay their all dues in one cheque.
It is to be noted, in 48 years of jute mills operations, the mills earned profit only four times, losses were incurred for the remaining 44 years. According to the BJMC, the estimated loss was Tk 10,674 crore. The financial loss since 2013 alone is Tk 2,654 crore. The arrears of the workers including pension is Tk 1,030 crore. The amount of jute purchase, services, bank loan and loan to the government is Tk 1668 crore.