With empty plates and pots, hundreds of state-run jute mill workers yesterday took to the streets in the capital’s Demra, demanding arrears and fair wages. The workers said they had no money to buy food.
Jute mill workers in Khulna and Jashore also demonstrated and blocked roads.
In Demra, workers of Latif Bawany Jute Mills and Karim Jute Mills blocked roads near Sultana Kamal Bridge and Staff Quarter area around 6:00am.
“We have nothing to eat. We want food for our children,” the workers chanted during the 10-hour demonstration.
Abul Hossain, general secretary of workers’ union at Karim mills, said, “We cannot provide food to our children even in the month of Ramadan. We are protesting for just causes.
“The authorities just ask us go back to work. How long shall we work without pay?”
Some of the workers have been pulling rickshaws in the evening and at night to support their families, he said.
Abul said they would continue the demos.
Yesterday’s road blocks caused long tailbacks near Staff Quarter and on Jatrabari-Demra and Rupganj-Sultana Kamal Bridge roads, forcing hundreds of people to walk to their destination amid scorching heat.
Assistant Commissioner Rabiul Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Demra) said the tailbacks had affected Dhaka-Chattogram highway and it contributed to the congestion in other parts of the city.
In Jashore, workers mostly from Jashore Jute Industry and Carpeting Jute Mills Ltd gathered in Rajghat area and blocked roads.
Trains or buses were also not allowed to enter or leave Khulna yesterday afternoon.
According to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, there are 14,525 permanent and 18,552 temporary workers in its mills.