She fights for her rightful dues

Shahabuddin Ahmad
Her name is not known but she is one of the thousands of determined jute mill workers protesting as they have not been paid their unpaid wages. They have nine-point demands and observed hartal (work stoppage) for 72 hours last month. These workers, including the women workers, have faced police and clash ensued, injuring 50 workers including three policemen. They work in government-owned jute mills and their demands include among others, payment of arrear salary, gratuity etc. After 72 hours these workers called off their strike and sat with the concerned government agencies, their employer, for a settlement of the issue but the decision so far is ineffective. The Secretary of the Jute Mill Corporation says that their demands cannot be met within the time frame. This is happening at a time when the government is trying to revive the lost glory of what was once called ‘the golden fibre’ of Bangladesh.
As citizens of the country it is their right to get their payments as the Constitution of the country provides in Article 14 “it shall be the fundamental responsibility of the state to emancipate the toiling masses—the peasants and workers—and backward section of the people from all forms of exploitation”. Non-payment of the workers’ outstanding salaries is injustice, a kind of exploitation.
The government has introduced a new law to pay pension to the retired government officials who have already taken full benefit under the old pension system. And these pensioners are all smiles and they talk about the new benefits in clubs, buses and tea shops. The government introduced old age allowance to help the have-nots, particularly in villages, and is widening the MPO system for the primary school teachers. These are forward-looking steps. But why these jute mill workers are not getting their dues? Why they have to face police for their rightful statutory dues?
The latest report of the Export Promotion
Bureau indicates that earning from export of jute and jute goods have taken a nose dive in the last few months. In the mean time the jute mill workers have announced a new programme of work stoppage as no settlement has been reached.
Protest and resistance ultimately wins.
Rosa Parks of USA in 1995 refused to give up her seat in the “Colour Section” to accommodate a white passenger after the “whites only” seats were full.
Ultimately she became a heroine, so famous that in 2005 after her death the US flag was flown at half-mast within the country and abroad. The unnamed lady in the picture will also win the battle as she and her co-workers are fighting for their valid dues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *