Pay wages to jute mill workers immediately

Parliamentary Standing Committee asks jute ministry

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Textiles and Jute has asked the ministry concerned to pay the arrears, wages and festival allowances of the workers of state-run jute mills without delay. The parliamentary watchdog issued the directive at its third meeting on Thursday, in the wake of escalating worker unrest in the sector over non-payment of their salaries for a couple of months.

The committee meeting held at the parliament complex with Mirza Azam in the chair also asked the Textiles and Jute ministry to contact the Finance Ministry for necessary funds in order to give the payment to workers as early as possible. “We have asked the Textiles and Jute ministry to resolve the problems immediately,” a committee member said, adding the meeting also discussed the latest situation of the state-owned jute mills.

Workers of the state-run jute mills are continuing their demonstration for the last few days demanding wages and arrears. The workers are also pressing for a fresh wage board. Their demonstrations also continued aggravating the traffic congestions in different metropolitan cities. The workers also demand that the government procure raw jute directly instead of private channels. As these workers are not being paid for two months they are passing in inhuman lives.

The meeting also attached highest importance on setting up composite (specialized) jute mills in order to promote multi-diversification jute products. The committee also asked the concerned ministry to set up design support centre in order to develop the design based on global demand. Besides, it also emphasised on setting up sale and display centre at home and abroad to attract local and foreign people.

The meeting discussed that the Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC) was established by the Ministry of Textiles and Jute. The meeting also mentioned that JDPC has jute entrepreneurial service centres in Chittagong, Dhaka, Jessore, Narsingdi, Rangpur, and Tangail. The centre is part of a government strategy to diversify jute products and promote exports of jute.

The meeting was informed that the JDPC is now producing 280 types of diversified jute products and the country is earning at least Tk 700 crore a year from exports of the diversified jute items. The JDPC will increase the demand of jute goods locally as well as internationally and help revive the lost heritage of the golden fibre, the meeting observed.

The meeting also said a ban on the use of plastic bags in different countries including US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia has opened new opportunities for diversified jute products. The meeting was also informed that the global demand for shopping bags is about 500 billion pieces, worth around $500 billion a year.

The US, Europe and China would be the biggest markets for shopping bags, once the ban on the use of plastic bags would come into effect. Committee members Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi, Mohammd Israfil Alam, Ranjit Kumar Roy, Mohammad Nazrul Islam Chowdhury, Khadizatul Anwar and Tamanna Nusrat attended the meeting.