Laid-off jute mill workers start getting benefits

Staff Correspondent

16 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The government started paying off the golden handshake benefits to the workers of 25 state-owned jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) from Tuesday.

 Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi on Tuesday handed over savings certificates to the workers at a function organized by BJMC at Karim Jute Mills premises in Demra, Dhaka.

 The government on July 2 announced its decision to shut down production at all jute mills under the BJMC.

 It also announced a revamping of the mills under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative and vowed to clear the service benefits of all mills’ staff within the shortest possible time.

 A total 24,886 permanent workers would voluntarily retire through the golden handshake policy, effective from July 1, as per Bangladesh labour Law 2006. Around Tk 5,000 crore will be spent on the golden handshake process.

 The process has started with paying benefits to the 1,759 workers of Karim Jute Mills. A total of Tk 251 crore will be required to settle the total payment to the workers of the mills.

 Fifty percent of all arrears under provident fund (PF), gratuity, and golden handshake facilities have been given to workers through savings certificates and the rest will be given directly to bank accounts of workers.

 Speaking at the programme, the Textiles and Jute Minister said that they have already done several meetings over the next course of action on the closed 25 jute mills.

 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and government to government (G2G) process have been discussed to revamp the jute mills. But, investors and stakeholders are on view of running mills through the lease system.

 “Now we plan to go for the lease system. We need to modernise the mills and for that, new machinery is required to do so”, said the minister.

 At the programme, it is informed that BJMC has already finalized the accounts of all the debts to be paid to the workers of 25 jute mill altogether and sent them to the Ministry of Finance.

 Workers of Karim Jute Mills have started getting their golden handshake benefits as the finance division cleared their account after an audit. BJMC has assured that the benefit of the workers of the remaining 24 closed state-owned jute mills will be paid soon in the same process.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian was present at the function.

“It is needed to keep state-run jute mills functional by any format so that the farmers get encouraged in farming jute” said Monnujan Sufian.

The minister also said that ministry of Textiles and Jute should emphasise on jute product diversification.