Over 2.5 lakh Jute mill workers in Bengal
set to go on  indefinite strike from  1st March



Joint convention comprising of the 21 Trade Unions working in the Jute sector of the state.

Kolkata , February 11 :  Over 2.5 lakh Jute Mill workers  of the state in West Bengal  is set to start an indefinite strike for wage revision and implementation of minimum wages act in the Jute Industry from 1st March. The slated strike, which will be effective in all the mills of the  state , will also affect over 4.5 million Jute growers, as the strike will paralyze the entire sector in the state, for an indefinite period.

CITU West Bengal State Committee General Secretary Anadi Sahu informed this today, in a Press conference organised at Krishnapada Memorial hall in Kolkata, on the sidelines of a joint convention comprising of the 21 Trade Unions working in the Jute sector of  the state.

 All the major trade unions of the Jute sector, including the CITU affiliated BCMU  and  INTUC affilated Jute mill workers Union and others , also participated in the Joint convention in Kolkata . The determined marginal workers of the jute sector of the state ,  were present in the convention in large numbers  and raised  slogaans  and cheered at whenever the proposal of the impending strike was  seconded by any leader of  the jute workers unions , in the convention.

It can be recalled  that the Jute Sector ,which has not seen any major  wage revision   after 2011,  still is paid @ Rs 257  per day. ’Even masons are paid more than Rs 500 per day and masons helper even as paid Rs 350 day for helping the mason in his work’ retorted Nagendra Paswan   , a jute mill employee from Titagarh  , who was present in the convention, and pointed that the heavy labour intensive and physically strainous  work of an average Jute mill worker , would fetch higher income  in similar conditions , in any other sector of the country.  The Union Governments’ role in this regard  is also extremely bad  and detrimental to workers interest “ they alleged .

 The concerned Union Minister Smriti Irani  even refused to pay heed to the Jute workers demands when several Unions met with the Union Minister , in this regard, they alleged.

CITU leader  Anadi Sahu  announced that  the impending strike notice  will be  with three days , to the office of the West Bengal Governments Labour department  and to the jute mill owners association “ICJMA “  both of who have repeatedly dillydallied over the long standing demand of the jute workers in this regard.  The Mill owners have faltered over paying  of 1050 crores of  retirement and PF dues to the Jute workers , he said  and said that  on an average in many cases jute workers retirement dues are not paid in 10 to 15 years after his retirement, and many of the ailing aged jute mill workers passes away , without receiving any retirement due  after  toiling for 35  to 40years .

In the joint convention   many jute workers also alleged  that  the ruling party  TMC and its MLA Arjun Singh , is taking a role as the union buster in the  Naihati- Titagarh- Barrackpore  jute mill labourers’   colonies  and pointed out how ruling party hooligans on  7ThJanuary attacked   Jute Mill labourers   for refusing to enter Jute mill premises to work , even after threat  of the ruling party mafia .

 Even, after the  state sponsored oppression ,  both on 7th and 8th January  National strike was 100 % effective in the jute mills of the entire state, they announced amidst high pitched  slogaans’ of the jute mills workers, present in the convention.  The Jute sector  trade unions   also alleged that  the PF trustee boards at the mill level has been forcefully taken over by the ruling party mafia , with connection of the jute mill owners , to give advantage to the jute mill owners of not paying the retirement dues , to the jute mill workers.

 The 21 Trade Unions also alleged that last year  even after repeated request  by the  21 main trade unions operating in the jute sector , the State Labour department only held three meetings  , and in one of the meeting  just heard  the demands of the  jute Mill  owners  and has in the meanwhile constantly  excused  themselves from  even hearing the demands of the jute mill workers   for wage revision ,paying of retirement dues to every worker and on time, and for gender equality in wage ,and to follow the Supreme Courts’  order of providing same wage for same type of work , across the industry.

“It is  a choking situation for   the entire jute mill workers , all the 21  Trade Unions in the Jute mill sector of the state” , observed in the convention and condemned the  attitude of the Jute Mill Owners ,  who being supported by the  ruling TMC hooligans  .   They also alleged that in the name of Union , the TMC hooligans are providing the mill owners with muscleman support , in order  to bull doze the aspirations of the average jute mill workers , and even a slight protest against  the ill behavior of the Jute mill owners and the management, is  rewarded  with suspension and dismissal. 

In these cases , though it is against the  accord of Indian Labour Conference of 1957 , and the Indian Labour Act , however State Governments Labour department , in not a single case has stood up for the dismissed workers , or against the suspensions.  On the Contrary  The Trade Unions observed that the labour  department of the West Bengal Government  after 2011,has  indulged in the nefarious activities of the  jute mill owners in siphoning away of the jute mill funds  to other ventures of the owners and has refrained from taking action against the errant jute owners who has played truant , with mill workers ‘ Retirement dues , the convention observed .


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