The workers also threatened to go for a hunger strike program in front of their respective mills if their demands are not met by July 1
Jute mill workers and their children have joined a sit-in program in front of their respective jute mills in Khulna, protesting the newly-issued government directive ordering a production halt at nine state-owned jute mills under the jurisdiction of Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC).
“The protest will continue till 11am today, and from June 30 till July 1, the protest will be held from 9am to 2pm,” Platinum Jute Mills workers’ leader Khalilur Rahman said on Monday.
The workers also threatened to go for a hunger strike program in front of their respective mills if their demands are not met by July 1.
The protests began on Thursday last week, organized by the state-owned jute mills’ CBA and Non-CBA Unity Council, at Khulna Crescent, Platinum, Khalishpur, Star, Daulatpur, Alim, Eastern, Carpeting and JJI Jute Mill.
On Sunday, the council’s convenor Sardar Abdul Hamid told a press conference at Khalishpur Jute Workers Institute that a conspiracy has been going on to shut down 25 jute mills in the country.
Saying that the livelihood of some 30 million people depend on these jute mills, he also said the workers will never accept a decision to shut down the mills instead of modernizing them with new technologies and machineries.
He also expressed hope that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will save the workers from unemployment by not shutting down the mills.
Earlier on Sunday, the government announced its decision to send 25,000 workers of state-owned jute mills into early voluntary retirement in a bid to curb the losses incurred over the past years.
Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi made the announcement during a virtual press briefing.
The workers will be sent into retirement through the golden handshake scheme, the provision in an employment agreement that states that the employer will provide a significant severance package if the employee is laid off.