Rupsa: A private jute mill has been lying closed for the last two months here in Balasore district amid rising discontent among its workers.
About 850 workers depending on the mill have been leading miserable lives as their livelihood is at stake.
Though the local labour union has taken up the issue with Collector Ramesh Chandra Rout and district labour officer Kuber Behera, no step has been taken for resumption of operation at the mill.
It was learnt that as per the letter of the district labour officer, a tripartite meeting will be held May 22 in the presence of the mill management, the workers and the district administration.
Notably, the government came out with a notification October 30, 2018, about hike in wages. Since then, hiked wages were not made available to the workers.
President of the labour union, Arun Dey, the mill owner and members of the labour union held a discussion about wage revision February 22, 2019.
The mill owner agreed to hike the wage by Rs 35 for the highly skilled labourers, skilled labourers and semi-skilled labourers. He wanted to hike wages of non-skilled labourers to Rs 280.
However, workers were not happy and they were adamant on right wages. They had burnt the effigy of the union’s president in front of the mill and shouted for his ouster.
Thereafter, March 19 was fixed as date for another round of talks with the mill owner.
On the same day, workers on the morning shift found the main gate of the mill locked. They also were shocked to find the lockout notice on the gate.
Functionaries of the labour association had intimated the issue to the collector, the district labour officer, the SP, the labour minister and the labour commissioner.
The district labour officer has intimated the mill owner Brijmohan Mal, general manager Hrushikesh Panda and general secretary of the labour union Deepak Kumar Panda that the tripartite meeting will be held at the labour office at 11 am May 22 to sort out the issue.