Jute mill workers to get benefits soon

To have priority in getting jobs under PPP

Staff Correspondent

4 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi on Friday said the workers of 25 closed state-run jute mills will get their benefits at the earliest possible time as per the Workers’ Wage Board 2015.

The minister also said that workers will get their wages for June through their personal bank accounts by next week.

“There are two more months of the notice period. The wage of the next month would go into their bank accounts in the first week of August,” he said.

The minister came up with the information at an emergency press conference regarding payment of the workers.

The minister has also taken the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) to task for the current malaise in the flagging jute sector.

BJMC Chairman Abdur Rouf was sitting next to the minister while he was delivering scathing assessment of the organisation.

Prime Minister has asked the authorities concerned to prepare a list from which they will know about their total amount of benefit, the minister said.

The minister said that fifty percent of all arrears under provident fund (PF), gratuity and golden handshake facilities will directly go to workers’ bank accounts while another 50 percent through savings certificates.

The minister said workers will get priority when the mills will resume operation under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

He urged the Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) to provide the bank account numbers of the workers as soon as possible for the payment of their dues.

The minister informed that the 25 mills will be reopened refurbishing those with modern technologies under different types of ventures –-PPP, G2G, joint venture or lease model.

State minister for labour and employment Monnujan Sufian, Textiles and jute affairs secretary Lokman Hossain Miah and labour and employment affairs secretary KM Abdus Salam were also present.

The government on Thursday formally declared the closure of production of 25 state-run jute mills with paying cent percent dues to 25,000 workers.

PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus made the announcement at a press briefing held at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday. 

He simultaneously said cent percent dues of 25,000 workers of the jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) would be given within the quickest possible time and it would require Taka 5000 crore to pay their dues.

Officials informed that 50 percent dues of the workers would be given in cash while the government would purchase saving certificates for each of them with their remaining 50 percent dues.

Each worker could earn interest of Taka 19,320 to Taka 74520 after every three months as on an average one worker would get 13.86 lakh while his maximum due is Taka 54 lakh.

The decision of purchasing saving certificates in favour of the workers has been taken considering their welfare as the low-income employees could get an amount in every three months even after their retirement.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked all concerned to take prompt measures to impart training to the retired workers to enable them to join other jobs. She also directed officials to formulate a work-plan to resume production of the jute mills by making those stronger and efficient to compete with the local and international markets.

The payment of dues of the workers would be given under the national wage structure of 2015 as the government had doubled their salaries in accordance with it.

Government would pay all the dues up to taka two lakhs to the workers while in case of dues of above Taka two lakh, the government would give 50 percent of it in cash and the remaining 50 percent in saving certificates.

Prime Minister has become emotional while giving consent to the decision. But the reality is that the 25 jute mills couldn’t be run properly and incurred losses years after years and the livelihoods of workers of the mills have been hampered, officials said.

Prime Minister is always sincere about boosting the production of jute and jute goods as their demand in the international market are on rise. She took initiatives to finance research on genome sequencing of jute and promote their multipurpose uses.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the BJMC’s performance, the government chief mentioned that the properly-run jute mills incurred losses in 44 years out of 48 after FY 1972-73. The cumulative losses of the BJMC stood at Tk 10,674 crores in 2018-19 fiscal year (since 1972).

The 25 jute mills will be reopened by being equipped with modern technologies under various ventures such as PPP (public private partnership), G2G, joint venture and leasing model.

In this regard, Prime Minister has directed officials to come up with a proposal on how the production of jute mills can be revived and make them capable enough to cope with the race of competition in the local and international markets.