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.
Neoliberal economic measures 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.
We encourage trade unionists to add your name in support – please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This statement was initiated by east London members of the Socialist Party (Committee for a Workers’ International England & Wales).