A wage pact was signed by the West Bengal government and the jute industry recently, according to which, new workers will receive a maximum of Rs 385 per day, which is much more than the current Rs 257 a day that they are paid. However, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) does not approve of this new wage agreement, and calls it “anti worker”. Six out of 21 trade unions have refused to sign the agreement, with four even calling for a one-day token strike in protest.
The wage pact is reported to have been signed to prevent a looming indefinite strike in the mills, which was to begin today, that is, March 15. The strike was called by trade unions demanding revision of wages as well as the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act.
At the beginning of this year, the state government had raised the wages per day for the new workers to Rs 327. According to the new agreement, a new worker will be eligible for Rs 385 a day only if he has reported for duty, for at least 24 days in a month. If his attendance is less than 24, he will only get Rs 370 a day.
“There is merely a Rs 2 per day hike for the 2.5 lakh existing workers, which is just not acceptable,” Sahu said.
The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) had earlier admitted that rising costs, cheap Bangladeshi imports and the increasing use of plastic in packaging have made it incapable of paying more to the workers.