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Bangladesh: Stop closure and privatisation of Jute Mills
Sign the solidarity statement
This statement has been initiated by east London members of the Committee for a Workers' International, the international socialist organisation the Socialist Party is part of.
We encourage trade unionists to add your name in support - please email [email protected] to do this.
We give full support to the workers in Bangladesh fighting to stop the closure, and subsequent privatisation, of state-owned Jute Mills.
We condemn the arrest of Jute Mills trade union leaders, Nurul Islam and Waliar Rahman, and demand their immediate release.
There must be no more arrests. The government must stop all oppression of these workers.
The demonstration and sit-ins show the determination of workers and their families to stop the mass sackings of 25,000 permanent workers and an estimated further 50,000 irregular workers.
It is clear that chronic underinvestment, winding down production and corruption have been used by the government to 'prove' the mills are no longer efficient. The workers have seen through these lies.
They are fighting along with their local communities to defend the gains of nationalisation of their industry and keep it out of the hands of vulture privatisation that will aim to strip the factories and drive down jobs, wages and conditions in the name of profit.
The government is bowing to the demands of world capitalism, especially the World Bank, who want an end to all state-owned enterprises in Bangladesh.
The World Bank demands that Bangladesh opens its economy to further workers' exploitation in return for loans.
But Neoliberal economic measures like these will further impoverish the working class and poor masses and must be opposed.
We call on the government of Bangladesh to reverse its decision to close the historic state-owned Jute Mills.
We call on it to provide funding to modernise the equipment and productive capacity of the industry, while retaining the whole workforce and improving conditions for all, including irregular workers who will become destitute if the industry is closed.
We give support to the fight to defend this industry by the trade unions and workers' organisations and will give support to mass action to defeat the closures.
Mass action can bring solidarity from the whole working-class movement in Bangladesh and across the region - particularly solidarity from jute workers in other countries.
That solidarity could be organised into a national one-day general strike of Bangladeshi workers to force the government back.
We pledge to build international solidarity for the Jute Mills workers.
Rather than neoliberalism, we pose the full modernisation of the plants, the dismissal of all corrupt officials, and workers' control and management to plan the production of the industry.
We fight neoliberal exploitation with defence of workers' interests and socialism.
Hugo Pierre, UNISON National Executive Committee (Personal Capacity)
Suzanne Muna, Unite Housing Workers branch
Dave Auger, UNISON Regional international officer, West Midlands
Jean Thorpe, Chair. Nottingham City Unison personal capacity
Iain Dalton, Usdaw F148 Leeds Private Trades branch, Chair of Usdaw Broad Left
Ahkter Khan, National Committee to Protect Natural Resources in Bangladesh UK Chapter member secretary
Niall Mulholland, Vice Chair, Newham trades Council (personal capacity)
Nottingham Trades Council
Jon Dale, Secretary, Unite EM/NG32 Nottinghamshire Health Branch
Sean Brogan, Secretary Exeter Trades Union Council; Chair, Unite Community Branch, South Devon
Carlisle Trades Council
Sally Griffiths, Assistant Branch Secretary, Salford Health UNISON (personal capacity)
Rob Williams, chair, National Shop Stewards Network
Kevin Parslow, Secretary, Unite LE1228 Branch (personal capacity)
Pete Mason, Chair, Barking Reach Residents Association
Scott Jones, USDAW Chingford branch Personal capacity
Gary Freeman, Nottingham Unison retired
Brent Kennedy, President, Carlisle Trade Union Council
Robert Charlesworth, Secretary, Unite Community - Cumbria branch
Support from Somalia
SOMALI PUBLIC TRADES UNION (SPTU) SUPPORT TO BANGLADESH WORKERS
SPTU, an Independent trade union based in Somalia, displays here its support to the Bangladesh workers as they face oppression from their government and employers.
Violation against workers' rights has become a sign for all the workers in the world and the main cause of this is to extract the workers' production. There is no special interest provided to the working machine of workers and when a worker claims to be granted his worth right, the answer received by the worker is wounds and pressures inflicted by his employers.
In this case we denounce the oppression of the Bangladesh workers and the arrest of the leaders of the Jute Mills workers, Nurul Islam and Waliar Rahman.
SPTU demands the immediate release of the Bangladesh trade union Leaders of the Jute Mills workers and to restore their freedom.
We see this measure taken by the government as a great fault and an inhumanity.
SPTU demands the government of Bangladesh and the employers avoid coercing workers with heavy workloads and long hours.
SPTU again calls to all international workers and Bangladesh workers' unions to contribute their part and support the rights of the Bangladesh workers.
SPTU is always ready to support any rights of workers whatever they are.
Mohamed Abdi Nour
General Secretary of SPTU
In Solidarity and Comradely Greetings.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 July 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist. Latest update: 15-7-20