Jute Mill Workers’ Hunger Strike

One dies, 250 more fall sick

Staff Correspondent | Published: 19:34, Dec 12,2019 | Updated: 00:46, Dec 13,2019


A worker died and 250 others fell sick as state-owned jute mills’ workers continued fast-unto-death on Thursday for the third straight day defying the government’s call of to suspend their demonstration until December 15.

The deceased, Abdus Sattar, aged about 55, a loom department labour of Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills in Khulna, felt chest pain at about 4:45pm on the agitation ground and was rushed to nearby Khalishpur Clinic from where he was shifted to Khulna Medical College Hospital where on-duty doctors declared him dead, said Sattar’s nephew Miraj Hossain.

KMCH medical officer Abdullah-Al Mamun who declared Sattar dead at 5:50pm said Sattar was brought dead and that he might have died of heart disease.

As Sattar’s body was taken to agitation ground in Khalishpur, the demonstrating labourers became agitated and many of them were seen crying. They vowed to continue movement and realise their demands.

Fifteen ailing agitating labourers of Patinum Jute Mills, 13 of Star Jute Mills, seven of Crescent Jute Mills were admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital and eight of Alim Jute Mills and Eastern Jute Mills were admitted to Phultala Upazila Health Complex on Thursday while 200 other workers were administered intravenous saline at their tents, the Sangram Parishad’s member secretary Shahana Sharmin, also president of Platinum Employees’ Union, told New Age correspondent in Khulna.

State minister for labour and employment Begum Monnujan Sufian on Wednesday night invited all the presidents and general secretaries of employees’ unions of seven jute mills in Khulna to her Daulatpur home and requested them to suspend their agitation until December 15 assuring them of meeting the minister for jute and textiles and discuss on their demands, reports New Age correspondent in Khulna.

‘We met the state minister at her Daulatpur residence in Khulna city at about 11:00pm on Wednesday,’ said Alim Jute Mills Employees Union president Saiful Islam Titu.

He said CBA and non-CBA leaders of all the nine mills in Khulna-Jashore region met in a meeting at Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills Employees Union office Thursday morning and decided to continue their demonstration until meeting their demands.

The labourers of most of the state owned jute mills began fast unto death in front of their respective mill gates bereaving cold on Tuesday to press their 11-point demand under the banner of CBA-Non-CBA Sangram Parishad.

Leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh, Ganosamhati Andolan and Socialist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist) on Thursday from separate demonstrations in Dhaka extended solidarity with the laubourers demonstration and asked the government to meet their demands.

The labourers’ demands include implementation of the National Wage and Productivity Commission Award 2015, payment of all arrear weekly wages, adequate budgetary allocation for the jute sector and buying adequate jute on season, payment of the outstanding provident fund and gratuity to retired workers and settlement of insurance benefits to the families of the deceased workers.

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