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State-run jute mill workers’ fast-unto-death rolls into 2nd day

  • Published at 07:41 am December 30th, 2019
State-owned jute mill workers in Khulna city seen observing their fast unto death program for the second day on Monday, December 30, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Two workers fall sick while fasting

To insist on their 11-point ultimatum, workers at nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna, Jessore, Narsingdi and Rajshahi districts on Monday observed their fast-unto-death for the second consecutive day.

The 11 points include implementation of the wage commission, payment of regular wages, cancellation of public-private ownership of the jute mills, and allocation of necessary funds to the jute sector.

In Khulna, the jute mill workers observed the strike on the Khulna-Jessore highway, near Kahlishpur, Atra and Nayapara industrial areas, halting production work. 

Collective Bargaining Agents (CBAs) and non-CBA Sangram Parishad Joint Convener Md Murad Hossian said: “The authorities failed to keep their promise to us, which is why we have resumed the hunger strike.”

Platinum Jute Mill CBA President Sahan Sharmin said: “We do not want to protest in such cold weather. We will go back to work as soon as they fulfill our demands.”

In Narsingdi, the workers of UMC jute mill continued their hunger strike unto death - which started on December 29 in front of the main entrance of the mill - for the second consecutive day.

Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) President of UMC jute mill Shafiqul Islam Molla said: “Jute mills are racking up losses owing to the high officials’ corruption. We are not getting wages despite the fact that we are working hard. We are not responsible for the losses.”

“Two workers have fallen sick while observing the strike. They have been admitted to Narsingdi Sadar Hospital. The strike will continue until our demands are met.” Shafiqul added.

In Rajshahi, Jute mill workers also observed the strike in katakhali area in the city.

Workers Party of Bangladesh (WPB) General Secretary and lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha expressed solidarity with the workers.

Earlier, the workers of nine state-owned jute mills went on work abstention and went on an unto-death hunger strike from December 10 to December 13.

Abdur Sattar and Sohrab, two workers of Platinum Jute Mills, died while undergoing treatment at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) during the strike. 

Later the workers postponed their hunger strike until December 17, following assurances from the state minister for labour that their demands would be met.

On Friday, CBAs and non-CBA Sangram Parishad leaders announced the resumption of their hunger strike unto death at a meeting in Dhaka, on the grounds that the promise has not been fulfilled. 

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