Workers shut jute factories

Itahari, December 30:

Nine jute factories on the Morang-Sunsari industrial corridor were shut for the third consecutive day today as at least 20,000 workers continued their protest demanding the minimum wage fixed by the government.

Nepal’s largest jute industry, Sunsari’s Sonapur-based Arihanta Multifibers Limited, was shut as the industry’s 4,500 workers busied themselves staging sit-in and disrupting traffic.

The chakkajam enforced by burning tyres also disrupted Sunsari-Sonapur section of the Koshi highway for an hour. The agitating workers have warned that the traffic blockade would be extended by an hour everyday till January 2. Sunsari’s Sonapur area would be shut for an indefinite period if the government failed to address the demands by then, said labour leader Hari Rai.

The agitation began after the government’s decision of minimum daily wage of Rs 190 was not implemented in the jute industries. Meanwhile, the government held talks with workers’ unions on December 26 and 27 to resolve the issue. However, the talks failed to find a way out.