Thousands of jute mill workers in Khulna and Chattogram are observing an indefinite hunger strike to press home their 11-point demand, including implementation of the wage commission.
At least 50 workers fell ill as their demonstration rolled into the second day on Wednesday.
The protesting workers said chilly weather and hunger are taking a toll on them. However, they will not return home until their demands are met. Family members of the workers are also participating in the demonstration.
Workers fall ill in Khulna
As many as 50 workers of nine state-owned jute mills have fallen ill in Khulna. Four workers - Hiron, Khayer, Babul and Sultan - were taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital on Wednesday morning after their condition deteriorated.
Workers of Star, Platinum, Crescent, Alim, Eastern, Daulatpur, Khalishpur, JJI and Carpeting jute mills of Khulna-Jashore industrial belt began the demonstration on Tuesday afternoon.
They took to the street with bed sheets, blankets and pillows amid the chilly weather. Their family members also joined them and vowed to continue the demonstration until the demands are met.
Khalilur Rahman, joint convener of the Collective Bargaining Association (CBA) and Non-CBA Sangram Parishad, said that a meeting was held in Dhaka on Tuesday on their issues.
However, workers continued the hunger strike as the meeting's output failed to satisfy them, said Khalilur. "We will continue until our demands are met," he added.
3 hospitalised in Chattogram
Three workers of Amin Jute Mills Ltd in Chattogram were hospitalized on Wednesday morning. Mokhlesur Rahman, Mokbul Hossain and Abdul Malek of the company were taken to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
Workers of the jute mill began a hunger strike from Tuesday morning.
Kabir Hosen, joint secretary of local Jatiya Sramik Federation, said many of the workers are too weak, and they feared that many of them could fall ill on Wednesday night due to the chilly winter weather.
Similar to the protest in Khulna, family members of the workers have joined the demonstration in Chattogram. They took a position in front of the mill gate. The workers said that they will neither return to the factory nor home until the demands are met.
Previously, a number of protests including rallies, sit-ins, token strikes and work abstention were staged to press home the workers' 11-point demand.