A new labour rights combine today demanded that the government clears all arrears of the state-run jute mill workers by 20th Ramadan (May 26).
“We want the government to clear all arrears of all state-run jute mill workers by Ramadan 20. Besides, it will have to realise the workers’ nine-point demand, including implementation of the new pay scale, immediately,” said leaders of Sramajibi O Shilpa Rakkha Andolan.
The labour leaders placed the demand in a memorandum submitted to Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) chairman at his Motijheel office around 11:30am.
Earlier in the day, the labours’ association held a protest rally in front of the BJMC building.
The labour rights combine convener Manzurul Ahsan Khan and its member secretary Harun-or-Rashid, among others, spoke at the rally.
WHY ARE THE WORKERS PROTESTING?
On September 7, 2015, the cabinet approved the eighth national pay scale effective from July that year, and it has been implemented in almost all government offices and corporations.
But four years on, over 32,000 workers of the 22 state-run jute mills are still waiting, although all officials and employees under the jute ministry, including those of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, are drawing their salaries under the new scale.
On top of this, the workers have not been paid for six to 12 weeks, with many literally starving as The Daily Star has seen during visits to Khulna and Demra in the capital recently. Officials and employees of the mills have also not been getting their salaries for two to four months.
Against this backdrop, workers called the indefinite general strike at all state-run jute mills from May 13 to realise their nine-point demand.
This will mean a production loss of about Tk 8 crore a day.