50 fall sick as state-owned jute mills workers’ strike continues

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Desk report, Jan 02: About 50 workers of nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna and Jashore fell sick on Thursday as their fast-unto-death rolled into the fifth day.“Eleven of them were admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) and others were given saline in their respective mill gate areas,” said Murad Hossain, joint secretary of non-CBA Songram Parishad.

They also vowed to continue their protest until their demands are met.

About 50,000 workers of Star, Platinum, Crescent, Alim, Eastern, Daulatpur and Khalishpur jute mills in Khulna and JJI and Carpeting jute mills in Jashore started a fast-unto-death from December 29 to press for 11 demands, including implementation of the wage commission and payment of regular wages.

Workers of the state-owned jute mills had earlier gone on work abstention and observed fast-unto-death from December 10 to December 13.

Abdus Sattar, 55, a worker of Platinum Jute Mills, died at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) during the strike on December 12. The workers postponed their strike until December 17 upon assurance from the state minister for labour.

But the promises were not fulfilled, forcing the collective bargaining agents (CBAs) and non-CBA Songram Parishad to resume hunger strike unto death.

The protesters’ demands include cancellation of public-private ownership of jute mills and allotting necessary fund for jute sector.