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Jute Mills labourers block highway PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

Labourers of the state-owned Alim Jute Mills in Khulna blocked the Khulna–Jessore Highway near the mill gate for about an hour Saturday morning.

The labourers blocked the highway at around 10:00am to push for their demand for the withdrawal of lay-off at the mill and payment of their dues. The labourers had held a protest rally at the mill gate before they blocked the highway.

When the labourers began blocking the road, the police requested them to leave the place. The police administration later sat at a meeting with the CBA leaders, representatives of labourers and the mill administration.

After the meeting the CBA leaders and representatives of labourers said the mill administration gave an assurance of opening the mill by February 15 and requested the labourers to withdraw the blockade. The labourers called off the blockade and held another rally where they said they would wage tougher movements if their demands were not met.

‘We know the state of emergency is in place. But we have no other options as we are hungry. We cannot see our family starving and our children staying away from schools to earn for the family,’ said Abdul Hamid, a leader of the labourers. The lay-off at the Alim Jute Mill has been in place for 133 days, beginning September 22, said mill officials.

Official sources in the mill said the mill was declared lay off on September 22 for a month showing financial crunch, shortage of raw jute and power crunch and the lay-off at the mill was extended for the first time for 15 days effective from October 22.

The lay-off was extended for the second time at the mill on November 6 for a month, on December 6 for 26 days, on December 31, 2007, for a month and on January 31 for 15 days.

The labourers are yet to be paid their wages of 33 weeks and salaries of eight months, festival allowance and lay-off benefits, mill officials said.

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