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Demanding Fair Wages, 2.5 Lakh Jute Mill Workers Across West Bengal to Go On Indefinite Strike

The strike, starting March 1, would impact 4.5 million jute growers.

Jute mill workers in West Bengal are reportedly planning to go on an indefinite strike starting March 1. Around 2.5 lakh jute mill workers across the state will be participating in the strike that will impact 4.5 lakhs jute growers. The workers are demanding implementation of the Minimum Wage Act and wage revision in the jute industry.

NewsClick reported that there has not been a wage revision for the workers since 2011 and they still earn a meagre Rs 257 per day.

Making the announcement during a joint convention of 21 jute sector trade unions on Tuesday, February 12, Anadi Sahu, General Secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Union’s West Bengal State Committee told Newsclick that the joint convention of 21 trade unions will notify the West Bengal Labour Department and the Jute Mill Owners Association in three days. Sahu added that the Owners Association and the Labour Department “have repeatedly dilly-dallied over the long-standing demand of the jute workers in this regard.”

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Per the NewsClick report, Sahu further alleged that the mill owners had not paid around Rs 1,050 crores in retirement and provident fund dues and that in many cases, such dues remain unpaid even after 10 to 15 years of retirement of a workers. He reportedly added that many workers had died without receiving their dues for 35 to 40 years.

A Titagarh Mill employee, Nagendra Paswan, told Newsclick that the Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani did not respond to their plight even after several unions had approached her.

West Bengal jute mill workers
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani

At the joint convention, many pointed out the January 7 incident where ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA Arjun Singh and his “goons’” went around threatening and attacking workers in Naihati- Titagarh- Barrackpore area for refusing to work under the threatened atmosphere created by the “ruling party mafia”, reported NewsClick.

Also Read: ‘We Will Become Slaves to Factory Owners’: Workers Hit Delhi Streets Against Modi Govt’s Anti-labour Policies

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