Workers of 25 jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), which will be shut down, will be paid their due salaries for June within this week while the total amount of dues will be paid by the first week of September.
Textiles and jute minister Golam Dastagir Gazi made the announcement at an emergency press conference on Friday at his residence in Dhaka.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had taken responsibility for the overall welfare of the workers and urged them not to despair. A comprehensive list of the labourers of these mills and their dues would also be prepared in the next three days.
The government has decided to pay all the dues of the workers because jute mills will be repaired and upgraded, the minister said.
Earlier, the prime minister decided to pay the full amount in cash to those having dues below Tk2 lakhs and workers with more dues will be paid in cash and family savings certificates.
"When a father gets money, his son or daughter takes the money from him, and the father becomes penniless. So, I will buy them savings certificates with half the money so that no one can take the money," said Golam Dastagir, quoting the prime minister.
According to the Prime Minister's Office, average dues of the workers amount to Tk13.86 lakhs, with a maximum of Tk54 lakhs. An 11 percent interest rate will ensure yield worth average Tk19,320 from a savings certificate of Tk7 lakhs and the highest Tk74,520 from Tk27 lakhs in every three months.
The government will release a fund of Tk5,000 crore to provide dues of 25,000 labourers and Tk1,020 crore will be spent to clear the dues of workers retired earlier.
No labourer will be terminated but will rather be prioritised when these mills start operation after remediation.
Last year, the government decided to shut down these mills as the government has been unable to overcome cumulative losses incurred by them.
"We have failed to survive with old technologies," said the minister, adding that the prime minister has not blamed the workers for the losses.
The workers are still in hesitation. Some of them are worried about how much and when they will be paid.
"The dues of the workers are in the government exchequer and there is no intermediary and so there are no possibilities of graft. The prime minister has instructed that the workers not be cheated out of their dues, said the minister.
Golam Dastagir Gazi on Sunday announced that the state-owned BJMC will be halting operations to stop a piling up of losses, saying that the mills will be run on the PPP/JVG/G2G/lease model under government control.
In this regard, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arranged a meeting at her office on Thursday and decided to shut down these mills after paying the dues of the workers.
About 95 percent of jute products in the country are produced in mills in the private sector, and the public sector is unable to survive as the share of the sector is shrinking, said officials at the meeting.
These mills experienced some profits in only four years in the last 48 years, the cumulative losses of these mills being Tk10,678 crore, speakers said at the meeting.
Secretary of the textile and jute ministry Lokman Hossain Miah was present on the occasion.