People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 06, 2004
Owners Close Down Jute Mills, Flout Agreement
of the owners of jute mills across Bengal have resorted to issuing closure
notices. The Kamarhati jute mill is the latest victim of this decision.
The various instances of suspension of work is related to the ill-gotten
attempt by the mill management to increase the per head workload and to employ
workers at lower wages.
is in complete violation of the tripartite agreement signed by the jute mill
owners association along with the Bengal Left Front government’s labour
department and the TUs. The workers alone, organised under the TUs, have carried
forward the task of enhancing production in each jute mill.
January, a ten-day-long strike of jute workers ended in the signature of the
tripartite agreement. Within four
months, no less than ten jute mills saw suspension of work notice displayed by
the management. The mills are:
Auckland, Kamarhati, Gouripore, Budge budge, Surah, Kanoria, Ludlow, Fort
William, Victoria, and Delta. Seven
more jute mills face the same fate.
jute mill owners, according to the CITU-affiliated BCMU leader, Gobindo Guha,
are assiduously following the footsteps of the rejected and discredited NDA régime’s
policies of “labour reforms.” Yet,
the production gives the lie flying in the face of the untruths being bandied
about regarding production. On a yearly basis, the combined annual production
rate currently standing of 50 mills is 16 lakh ton.
agreement had clearly mentioned that one-third of the production should be
linked to the wages. Workers were
also assured of getting the dearness allowance.
The IJMA, the mill owners’ association has in a letter to the state
government has denied its ability to provide DA.
management have also misappropriated the amounts of PF, gratuity, and pension
funds of the workers. This includes
Rs 120 crore worth of gratuity and Rs 97 crore of PF.
One mill owner has been indicted in a High Court judgement over his
misappropriation of Rs 100 crore worth of the workers’ PF and pension.
The mill owner managed to evade the PF commissioner’s office by moving
High Court and getting a prayer sanctioned that he would repay the amount by
instalments. Guha said that the
jute mill workers remained united in their effort to ensure that the jute mills
survived the owners’ onslaught and made further progress.