BJMC workers not paid salary two months since closure of mills

Khulna Aug 24 – Jute mill workers staged a demonstration to press home a 14-point set of demands, including reopening of the 25 state-owned jute mills, in the city’s Khalishpur area on Monday. Witnesses said the jute mill workers under the banner of ‘Sammilito Nagarik Parishad for protecting jute mills’ took to the street around 11 am and staged a sit-in in the area till 1 pm.
Earlier, they brought out a procession from Platinum Jute Mill gate around 10 am and gathered in Khalishpur area.
The other demands include immediate payment of the dues, arrears and gratuities of all workers -including those laid off by the closure and those who retired earlier- and steps to modernise the state-owned jute mills avoiding corruption and looting.
Advocate Qudrat-e-Khuda, convener of the ‘Sammilito Nagarik Parishad for protecting jute mills’ and its member secretary SA Rashid addressed the demo, among others.
When speaking they said the assets of the state-owned jute mills belong to the nation and neither the workers nor citizens would tolerate any kind of corruption in it.
During the demonstration, the leaders and activists of the organisation threatened to go for a tougher movement that would actively agitate until their demands are met.
The government decided to shut down the 25 state-run jute mills under Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) by providing cent percent dues of some 25,000 workers of the mills.
Compensating the workers was stressed as a priority by the government while announcing the closure, with the country’s jute and textiles minister even claiming a Tk 5000-crore fund had been set aside expressly for this purpose.
The decision came at a meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her residence Ganobhaban on July 2. The mills closed with immediate effect.
The government’s plan was to bring in private sector players who would oversee the reopening of the chronically loss-making mills as viable commercial entities. But that hasn’t found any takers yet either. – UNB