The state government has called for a tripartite meeting on February 18 to resolve the impasse between the jute mill owners and the workers’ trade unions, which threatened to go on an indefinite strike from March 1. A notice issued by the state labour department invited the jute unions to discuss their charter of demands with the mill owners.
“The government will try to find a solution for the issue at the tripartite meeting,” said a senior government official.
Around 21 trade unions in the jute sector, barring the Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress, announced an indefinite strike from March 1 to press for various demands.
CITU leader and Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Union general secretary Anadi Sahu on Monday said they were “forced to” give a call for the strike as their 22-point charter of demands were not heard by jute mill owners and the state government.
According to a statement issued on behalf of 21 trade unions, the jute sector employs over two lakh workers in 65 mills across the state. Some of the demands mentioned by the unions are minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per day for workers, equal pay on equal work, special transfer, dearness allowance, 20% of the salary as house rent and others.
The state government, in a meeting on January 17 with the jute industry and trade unions, decided to give an interim relief of Rs 70, raising the wage to Rs 327 per day till the new wage agreement was finalised. However, the relief would be applicable only to those workers whose daily wage is less than Rs 327.