The prevailing worsening situation in readymade garment (RMG) sector is not good for country’s feeble economy. RMG sector accounts for 76% of our total annual foreign exchange earnings. Once, Jute was the only foreign exchange earning item. But the golden age of Jute is now over. At present, the RMG is our only dependable export item. The textile sector has emerged as a backward sector to this RMG sector. Spinning, weaving, Knitting; dying, finishing etc have emerged as a backward linkage industry. These areas of the of the textile sector are contributing to the economy of the country.
So, if the RMG sector suffers any crisis, the repercussion will be felt everywhere in the rickety economy. Now, there are 350 spinning mills operating in the country, which is catering to the demand of the RMG sector and thus saving huge amount of foreign exchange. At present, the capacity of the spinning mills is 1. 6 billion meters. There are 180 dying-finishing mills in the country with a capacity of 120 million meters per year. The production capacity of the knitting mills is 41 billion meters. What is important here is that they are capable of meeting local demand.
The total workforce engaged in this sector is about 2. 5 million, of which 60 percent is women. The total production is being exported to foreign countries. The reasons and the remedies of the present crisis: All of a sudden, labor unrest has increased in our country. But, it will be unjustified to say that this labor unrest has grown overnight. It has a long history too. Labor unrest got impetus towards the end of the 4-party led coalition government and in the immediate past care taker government it reached its peak. We shall now turn to the reasons for Labor unrest as well as its remedies.
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1. The main reason of the RMG Labor unrest was the demand for raising workers’ salary. In the year 1984, the RMG sector started flourishing when foreign buyers started coming to Bangladesh due to political unrest in Sri Lanka. And day by day, the RMG sector became the single largest sector of our country’s economy. During that time, there was no wage scale for the workers of this sector. No specific rules and regulations regarding the RMG sector were framed. Gradually, a pay scale came into being . The present government took an initiative for revising the
existing wage structure against the backdrop of the Labor unrest; and a new revised wage structure was declared by the Labor Minister concerned with Tk 3,000 for the lowest grade for workers. An apprentice will now get an amount of taka 2,500. The new wage structure has seven grades for general workers and four grades for staff. The percentage of increase is huge. Despite that some worker resorted to movement with the argument that the lowest amount for a worker’s salary should be at least Tk5,000 and be effective from August, 2010.
This is a reason why the Labor unrest gaining winds despite the declaration of a revised wage. Now, the RMG owners are saying that they can’t help but close down their factories if arson and anarchy continues further. So, what is the ultimate remedy of this crisis? Whatever may be the reason, the situation now remains subdued as the workers have started working and production is in full swing everywhere. 2. A few days earlier, leading politicians, distinguished citizens of the country made adverse comments regarding the RMG sector.
They pointed out that the workers are leading an inhuman life as they were ill paid. With the poor salary given to them, they fail to get two square meals for sustaining their souls let alone the other bare necessities of life. The aspersions, however, added fuel to the already overcharged and highly volatile situation in the sector; and the turmoil took a new dimension. Though a revised wage structure is declared, peace is yet to come to the RMG sector. It is expected that the workers should be cautious about their role in the matter.
Minimum wage is the lowest rate employees may legally pay for an hour of labor (Merriam, 741). The United States has a minimum wage law to guarantee minimum hourly wages and to prevent the exploitation of workers and provide unskilled and part-time workers with a wage floor. People have argues that the minimum wage has become less of a safety net for primary earners in poor families than a floor ...
For the greater interest of the country, the workers should reconsider their stand and change their negative attitude to the matter and try their best to maintain peace in this sector as it might further escalate and affect other sectors too. So, our export earnings will fall sharply if law and order situation deteriorates in the sector. 3. There should be a significant change in the mindset of the owners as well. Only a slogan like “owners -workers are brothers” will not bring any significant change.
The owners should meet the justified demand of the workers and implement the agreed points as early as possible. We all know that with incurring losses no owner of a factory will continue with his business. But at the same time it should be borne in mind that the owners should also make money from their business. But the dilemma is that many of our RMG owners like to make huge profit and intend to become millionaire overnight. Such mentality should be given up. We should bear in mind that RMG owners are to meet minimum requirement of a Laborer. 4.
Political stability is a prerequisite for rapid industrial growth. At this moment, there is no anti-government movement by the opposition in the country. But the development in the Industry sector is almost zero. No significant FDI is pouring in. An uneasy political situation is prevailing in the country. It should be changed. 5. At present, industry sector is severely hit by the power and gas crisis. Many factories have suspended production for want of power and gas. In some cases, some factories are running their factories in the night instead of day.
It is very unusual for both the owners as well as for the workers . This is why the total production has fallen0; the cost of production increases dramatically, earning has slimmed down. The government has to come forward with practical and pragmatic decisions to overcome the crisis. 6. The RMG owners as well as other entrepreneurs are counting losses because of high bank interest rates. Nowhere in the world entrepreneurs pay interest rate at 13 percent except for Bangladesh. In addition to that, the banks realize another 13 percent as service charge.
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To many entrepreneurs, the bank interest rate is too high to cope with; and ultimately leaving them in a vulnerable situation in a competitive market. It is expected that the bank interest rate should be reduced to 7 percent . The government should come forward to save the entrepreneurs form the exploitation of the banks. If it can be done, the total scenario will be changed and the RMG sector will be able to give the minimum benefits as expected by the workers. 7. The productivity of our worker is much lower compared to that of the workers of Korea, China, and Hong Kong.
The gross production rate per hour of these countries is two times higher than that of our worker. So, we are to train our workers to increase their per hour productivity. If it can be done, our production will be increased to a great extent and we will be able to compete with our rivals. 8. The cost of production is increasing day by day as the price of raw material is rising. As the prices of essential raw materials are increasing beyond the control of the RMG owners, hence the pay increase is not possible. The price of essential raw materials must be kept under control.
This has to be done by the government. It is a major reason for labor unrest. The government should focus on increasing the local production rather than depending on import. 9. We know that in the year 1983 Bangladesh exported $31. 57 million worth of garments, which constituted 3. 89 percent of our total export revenue. This figure increased drastically due to the several initiatives taken by the then government to $298. 67 million in 1986-87, which constituted 27. 74 percent of our total export revenue. In 2009-10, the RMG sector earned $12.
35 billion, which accounted for 79. 33 percent of our total export revenue. In 2008-09, the RMG contributed to 10 percent to the country’s GDP. The total investment in RMG sector and Textile sector is worth Tk406 billion. The total number of workers in these two sectors is 4. 0 million, which is 65 percent of the people engaged in manufacturing sector. The livelihood of 20 million people is directly or indirectly dependant on these two sectors alone. Based on these two sectors, backward linkage sectors like banking, services sector, transport sector, have developed.
... , largely, the condition of female garment workers is very frustrating. Women workers face various crises in the RMG sector. The print media had written many ... ’ wages and payment is the most significantly correlated factor to labor unrest. Shahidur Rahman(2004), Since independents the Bangladesh economy dependent on ...
So, the government must come forward to do all what is possible with a view to flourishing the unexplored potentials of the RMG sector. The writer is the founder of the Eastern University and former vice president of the FBCCI . Dated-5-09-201 Industrial Police to Police Industrial Policy? By Faheem Haider Wednesday, October 13th 2010 Earlier this year the government began to formulate plans to set up a separate police force to monitor the four separate industrial zones in Bangladesh. The plan was put into play this month with somber fanfare.
The Industrial police force, (an unfortunately titled cadre of security officers; one imagines police officers kitted out in metallic gear and outfitted in chest plates, cogs and wheels as their weapons) will aid the Bangladesh police and the group of localized (and quite possibly, ill-trained) militia members called the Ansar Bahini, charged with nation-wide, internal security. Ostensibly to maintain law, order and security the Industrial police drew out nearly 1,500 officers from Bangladesh Police to patrol the four zones in Bangladesh where the main garments factories are located.
1, 400 more officers will join later to patrol the Dhaka and Chittagong, Gazipur and Naranganj industrial centers. They will report directly to the Home Ministry led by Sahara Khatun. The Industrial police are yet another paramilitary force that together with the Rapid Action Battalion, and Ansar aid the Bangladesh Police to maintain the internal security of the country. No doubt, it’s an important move especially since the ratio of population to the police force tasked to protect it is so glaring large. Nevertheless, the move to institute a separate Industrial Police force is not one that has obviously–and only–positive benefits.
The force has been designed and established to quell labor unrest in the garments sector. This is a direct response to the term of widespread public and social unrest, in the aftermath of which garment workers were offered and accepted a raise in their minimum wage. Asking a minimum wage of 5000 taka, laborers protested the committed refusal of asset owners to admit into their pay rolls such a large increase in wages. Eventually garments workers accepted a hike of 3000, double their minimum wage to be phased in over time.
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Since that round of protests and violence, NGO’s have accused the government of torturing labor leaders. The tit for tat has offended industrialists who have claimed–with reason–that in order to maintain its industrial strength the current government has to figure out a way to control the next round of labor protests. The garments workers also have a morally compelling argument in their favor-perhaps more that is morally superior to the claims of industrialists since it hinges on a version of claim to subversion of worker’s human rights.
There is widespread evidence of corporate exploitation of workers, overly long work hours and compensation that categorically does not match the surplus profits generated from their industry. Furthermore, with real estate and food prices sky-rocketing garment workers have a legitimate claim to higher compensation, perhaps even higher than the accepted rate of 3000 taka. In their turn, asset owners have a righteous argument that if the government raises wages too high, most firms will be priced out by the larger garments firms. In other words, such a move would quench competition.
Through all the arguments for and against labor strife, unrest and security protection, I cannot think putting out more police officers to scare labor into acquiescence is a stable long-term strategy. As with the RAB, there is little cause to think that the Industrial police will be accountable to public scrutiny. This security force seems to have been designed to be accountable to industrialists and the profits they generate; to some extent that is legitimate. But the counter-point to this is that they seem explicitly designed to crush labor unrest.
As such, there is ample room for the rule of law to fall victim to short-term security interests. Roundtable points to communication gap for RMG Labor unrest April 13, 2010 A roundtable in Dhaka yesterday pointed to inadequate communications among owners, workers and trade unionists as a major reason for the recurrent Labor unrest in the readymade garment (RMG) sector, Bangladesh’s prime foreign exchange earner. The workers misunderstand the owners as mid-level management sometimes fails to make them understand properly, the speakers observed.
One of the main things that could be compared between factory workers and slaves is the different working conditions that the two had and how they all suffered. Even though the factory workers were inside a building they suffered a great deal. The early factory system did not share its benefits evenly with every one. The owners grew plump with all the profit that they made, while the workers ...
Lift Standards, a Germany-based social compliance advisory firm, organised the discussion on ‘communication and cooperation among stakeholders in times of unrest’ at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel where lawmakers and international buyers spoke among others. Economist Dr Quazi Kholiquz-zaman Ahmad urged all stakeholders to keep themselves away from a ‘blame game’ so far RMG Labor unrest is concerned. “The issues that led to Labor unrest have been identified, now it needs special care from all sides to resolve this problem, ” Ahmad suggested.
Pointing his finger at trade unionism, he said, “Formation of trade unions in the industrial sector is a constitutional right of the workers and their representatives. The owners should allow such rights in the RMG sector. But, we must ensure that trade union leaders run those properly. ” Lutful Hai, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Commerce, hoped that there will be no Labor unrest in the RMG sector soon after the establishment of trade unions at all the garment factories. “It’s true that sometimes some unofficial forces provoke workers to create unrest,” the lawmaker said.
“The rules for formation of bargaining agents at the garment factories are violated,” observed Israfil Alam, the chief of parliamentary standing committee on the Labor and employment ministry. Lawmaker Sarah Kabori suggested owners arrange open dialogues with the workers on a regular basis in the interest of a better understanding between the two sides. “The owners should consider the workers as part of their factories,” the actor-turned-politician said, pointing to the communication gap as the main for RMG Labor unrest.
While sharing her experience of such unrest, Kabori said owners seek help from the local influential people and government agencies after the occurrence of any such incident, but they can resolve any dispute through discussion among the stakeholders. Shahidullah Azim, a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, spelt out his bitter experience of trade unions in the RMG sector. “So far I know, some 150 garment factories where trade unions were active have been announced closed now,” he said. The machinery and apparels worth Tk 2 billion in a composite garment factory of Islam Group have been damaged recently.
“We feel proud of Islam Group, as it is one of the highly compliant factories, which received Wal-Mart award for six consecutive times,” Azim said. He said sometimes so-called Labor leaders create problems in the factories instead of resolving the issues in a proper manner. Marin Boehm, manager, CR-Buying Markets of Otto Group of Germany, said social compliance in Bangladesh is not strong. “Still the Labor unrest and fire incidents are taking place in the factories due to problems in management and cooperation,” Boehm said. Dr Wajed Ali Khan, coordinator of the Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, also spoke on the occasion.
08 BAN 5 – 08-08-09 Savar Laboratoiredesfrondeurs. org http://www. newagebd. com/2008/aug/08/front. html#3 RMG unit owners seek security fearing Labor unrest in Ramadan Mustafizur Rahman Garment factory owners on Thursday sought security from the government for readymade garment units, mostly in Dhaka and Chittagong, as they fear Labor unrest might flare up before Ramadan over due wages and other benefits. The owners requested stringent measures in case of any deviation from laws either by workers or the owners to save the factories from being destroyed.
‘We are very much concerned about Labor unrest which may fare up any time in Ramadan, aggravating the situation,’ the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters; Association president, Anwar-Ul Alam Chowdhury, told New Age on Thursday after a meeting with the home affairs adviser, MA Matin, at the secretariat. A seven-member delegation, led by the association president, called on Matin in his office seeking security for the apparel sector. Former association president Annisul Huq, now the president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce Industries, also attended the meeting.
The delegation requested the adviser to work out a guideline for them after a consultation with the commerce and Labor advisers by Sunday to save the factories from being attacked. Anwar-Ul Alam feared once the workers get involved in violence while rallying for due wages and other benefits, such incidents of violence spread to compliant factories causing damage to the sector which earned $10. 7 billion in foreign exchange in the past financial year. ‘Unrest may flare up fast this time and good factories will come under attack as all find it hard to cope with the essential goods price spiral,’ he said.
The factory owners want the government should contain any unrest in the sector heavy handedly so that the workers do not dare to launch any movement anywhere sparking off violence also in good factories, said sources attending the meeting. Matin assured the workers of strict implementation of laws in case of any violation. Unrest in garment factories resulting from non-payment of wages and benefits led to violent incidents several times in Dhaka and Chittagong in violation of the Emergency Powers Rules, which came into force in January 2007.
A number of factories, according to intelligence reports, are vulnerable to Labor unrest as the owners are not regularly paying the workers in accordance with the agreement made by the owners, workers and the government. The government of Fakhruddin Ahmed earlier formed a crisis management cell at the association, involving, among others, law enforcement agencies to tackle any untoward incidents in the garment sector. The government believes non-payment of wages to poor workers was one of the main reasons for Labor unrest in the readymade garment sector.
Violent Labor unrest in the garment sector, which caused blood-shed and damage to factories, forced the government to form a tripartite wage commission in June 2006 to suggest a new pay scale as the minimum wage had remained unchanged for 12 years. The commission on October 5 finalised the apparel workers’ pay structure, setting the minimum wage at Tk 1,662. 50 from Tk 930 and the government on October 22 gazetted the new wages. The workers expected increased wages to be paid by December 2006. But still many factories are yet to comply with the agreement.
A total of 4,100 out of 5,000 garments factories are registered with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association. ‘A total of 2,765 factories are in operation now and almost all of them have implemented the minimum wages,’ the BGMEA president claimed. Published On: 2008-08-10 Front Page Garment workers clash with Ansars 2 bullet-hit Staff Correspondent Clashes between garment workers and Ansars at Nayarhat in Ashulia yesterday left four people injured, two of them with gunshots.
For overnight assaults on two of their fellows, workers of Biswas Synthetic Ltd attacked the Ansars camp on the factory premises at around 9:30am. The Ansars replied by shooting at the protesters. Later, the camp was withdrawn in the face of demonstrations. The injured were admitted to local hospital and clinic. Of them, two are workers and two factory officials. The employees agitated also for regular payment of salary, introduction of eight-hour work period and removal of the general manager. Production remained suspended throughout the day for clashes and agitation.
Witnesses said the Ansars personnel deployed in the factory slapped two employees on the graveyard shift. In the morning, co-workers of the two flew into a rage when they learned about the incident. They called for immediate action against those responsible. But as the factory authorities did not respond, they attacked the Ansars camp. The Ansars fired at least 15 shots to disperse the demonstrators armed with sticks and stones. During the clashes, workers Faruq Ahmed and Atiqur Rahman were shot in the leg while security officer of the factory Abdul Qaiyum and laboratory in-charge Abul Hasan were wounded in stone throwing.
The situation came under control with police reaching the scene after about an hour. In response to the workers’ complaints, the Ansars high command in the evening ordered withdrawal of the camp and closed those who were on duty there to the battalion headquarters. Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, told The Daily Star, “The workers were already annoyed with behaviours of some Ansars men. Friday night’s incident only added to their anger. ” He said a magistrate would carry out an executive enquiry into yesterday’s shooting. http://www. newagebd.
com/2008/aug/10/front. html#3 15 injured as ansar men fire at Savar RMG workers Staff Correspondent At least 15 people were injured as on-duty ansar men opened fire on the garment workers protesting against assault on two of their fellows at a Savar factory Saturday. Two of the factory workers sustained critical bullet injuries and admitted to a local hospital. Witnesses and police said ansar men beat two workers Zahid and Raju of Biswas Synthetics Limited, a concern of Biswas Group, located at Mirzanagar at Savar as they fell asleep during their night shift duty hours Friday.
Hearing the incident, several hundred workers of the factory staged demonstration since Saturday morning and demanded punishment of the responsible ansars. As the factory authority did not respond to their demand, the workers equipped with rods, sticks, stones and brickbats attacked the ansar camp inside the factory at around 9:30 am. The ansar men instantly started firing into the crowd and angry workers retaliated with brickbats. Two workers, Faruk Hossain and Atiqur Rahman, collapsed with bullet wounds in the legs as at least 15 shots were fired, factory sources said.
This infuriated the workers further and prompted them to vandalise the factory and damage windowpanes until huge contingent of police and Rapid Action Battalion brought the situation under control at around 2:00 pm. Agitating workers demanded withdrawal of the ansar camp from the factory and removal of factory general manager Shafiqul Islam. They also demanded payment of their salaries on the 20th of every month. General manager of Biswas Synthetics Limited, Shafiqul Islam told New Age, ‘The demands of the workers are illegal and what they have done over a trifling matter is unacceptable.
’ Officer-in-charge of the Ashulia police station Rafiqul Islam told New Age, ‘Ansars opened fire to save their lives and the factory property. ’ He said the authority already removed the ansar camp from the factory. ‘No case was filed in this connection,’ the OC said. Workers Faruk and Atiq, security in charge Abul Hasan and laboratory in charge Kaiyum were admitted to Savar Gana Sasthya Hospital. http://www. thedailystar. net/story. php? nid=49929 Published On: 2008-08-11 Front Page Agitation for Arrears Workers vandalise 15 RMG factories; 60 units close
Factory in Gazipur set ablaze; owners blame ‘outsiders’ Staff Correspondent Garment workers demanding back pay yesterday ransacked at least 15 garment factories and four shopping centres at Jamgorah in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital. The violence triggered closing of more than 60 garment factories in the area. The agitating workers also blockaded the Dhaka-Tangail highway for over two hours and vandalized three vehicles, causing panic and a severe traffic jam. At least 20 people were injured as police clubbed the mob of agitators to restore order in the area.
Meanwhile in Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ), two garment factories — Softex Sweater Factory and Feather Light — were shut down for various other reasons. Softex was closed due to Labor unrest while Feather Light for insufficient work order, said sources. In a late development, angry workers set fire to a factory of Meem Garments in Gazipur around 8:30pm yesterday damaging a huge quantity of fabrics and yarns. Five units of fire fighters from Tongi and Gazipur rushed to the spot and put out the blaze around 11:00pm.
Both fire service and police officials confirmed that angry workers set fire to the factory at one stage of their protest demanding payment of overdue wages and Eid bonuses. Workers of two other nearby factories also ransacked the factories they work in. Meanwhile, workers of Meditex Sweater Factory in Konabari area under Gazipur Sadar upazila abstained from work yesterday, and workers of Euro Fashion Ltd at Masterbari under Sripur upazila staged a sit-in in front of the factory, both in demand for pay hikes.
According to eyewitness accounts, in Ashulia over 300 workers of Polonia Garments Ltd gathered in front of the factory premises for their overdue salaries at around 11:00am yesterday, the day that had been previously fixed by the factory authorities for the disbursement of salaries. The unpaid workers became furious and started to ransack the factory as they found the main gate of the factory locked. The situation turned worse when over 1,000 workers, armed with bamboo sticks and stones, from neighbouring factories joined Polonia workers and attacked other factories on the Dhaka-Tangail highway.
Windowpanes, doors and furniture of the factories were damaged in the attack. The factories that came under attack are Polonia Garments Ltd, Sed Fashion Ltd, Eastern Link Creation Ltd, Rivas Composit Ltd, Envoy Fashion, Scan Desk Ltd, Setara Group Ltd, Nodh Tex, Design Dreams Ltd, Universe Garments Ltd, Isa Fashion Ltd, Pall Mall Garments, Five Brother Ltd, and GBS Garments. The shopping centres vandalised by the mob are Samir Plaza, Helen Plaza, Nigar Plaza, and Noor Jahan Mansion. Panic gripped stranded passengers and vehicle owners on the highway when the workers started vandalising vehicles.
Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge (OC) of Ashulia police station, told The Daily Star that the workers became angry as they did not receive their overdue salaries on time. “The authorities however paid off the salaries in the afternoon,” said the OC adding that no case was filed and no one was arrested. Owners of the affected garment factories yesterday denied the allegation of non-payment to the workers and reiterated that a section of hooligan outsiders in the guise of workers ransacked their factories.
Owner of Envoy Fashion Ltd, Salam Murshedy, also a leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said his factory was ransacked by a section of hooligan outsiders who were masquerading as workers. “The workers did not attack my factory,” Murshedy said. He said suddenly a group of outsiders tried to enter his factory, but the workers of the factory obstructed them. The outsiders then threw stones and broke glass panes and other furniture, he added. Similarly, the outsiders ransacked other nearby factories, he said.
Murshedy said he will continue production in his factory today, as the damage to the factory is has not been severe. “At least 5,000 workers are employed in my factory producing 45,000 apparel items a day. So, I cannot stop production as I pay the workers regularly,” he said. Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, a platform of garment factory workers, said the workers agitation broke out for a pay hike in the wake of higher prices of essential commodities. She said although the majority of owners pay salaries under the current wage structure, the minimum wage of Tk 1,662.
50 a month is too little to maintain livelihoods. “So, it needs to be increased through negotiations, but not by damaging factories,” she added. She said the government should also come forward to settle the issue of low salaries of the workers. “The workers, owners and government officials may sit together again for a solution,” she said. BGMEA President Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez said the nature of the attack indicates that the rampage was carried out by outsiders, not by real workers. “Only the compliant factories were ransacked. The factories those were attacked are all good in payment and in corporate culture,” he said.
http://www. newagebd. com/2008/aug/11/front. html#4 Garment workers on rampage for increased pay, dues Vehicles, factories vandalised at Ashulia, unit set on fire in Gazipur Staff Correspondent Workers on Sunday damaged a number of garment factories and blocked the Dhaka–Tangail Highway at Jamgara of Ashulia in Dhaka demanding payment of salaries and dues. RMG unit workers also went out on demonstrations, vandalised vehicles and set fire to a factory in Gazipur, demanding increased wages and payment of dues. They also vandalised a number of vehicles as the police charged at them with truncheons.
More than 20 protesters were injured. The local people and the police said the workers of the Polonia Garments Limited, shut down on August 2, went to the factory at Jamgara in the morning for salaries and dues, but they found the entrance locked up. The workers then took to the streets and blocked the highway at about 11:00am. Several hundred vehicles were stranded on both ends of the road stretch. At one point, they started marching and fellows from other factories joined them. They pelted the factories by the road with stones. The window panes of more than a dozen factories and shopping malls were damaged.
A number of vehicles were also vandalised. The authorities of all other factories in the area closed their units fearing further agitation. The police reached the spot and charged at the workers with truncheon, injuring more than 20 of the protesters. Police deployment was then reinforced to control the situation. Polonia workers said the authorities had closed the factory on August 2 without any notice and said the payment of salary and other allowances would be made on Sunday. But no one from the management went to the factory which was found locked up.
The factory owner, Abdul Kader, however, said the workers would be paid by the evening. A senior Dhaka Export Processing Zone official said the Softex Sweater Factory closed the unit on Sunday for ‘unjust’ demands of the workers. The Featherlight Factory in the zone also closed the unit till August 20, the official said. In Gazipur, the workers of at least 10 garment factories went out on demonstrations, vandalised the factories and set a factory on fire. Local people, factory workers and the police said the workers of the Delta Group at Kashimpur had been out on demonstrations for a few days demanding
increased wages. They abstained from work and held rallies Sunday morning as the authorities refused to meet their demands. At one point, they vandalised the factory. The police obstructed them as they tried to attack neighbouring factories. At least five workers were injured in the incident. The workers of six factories also went out on demonstrations at Sreepur demanding increased wages and payment of dues. The workers came out of the factories as some people, reportedly hired by the owners, chased them, leading to a clash.
At least 15 were injured. The police controlled the situation in the afternoon. The workers of the Meem Sweaters at Basan in the district headquarters had been out on demonstrations for the whole day. As the authorities did not heed their demands, they set fire to the factory warehouse and the generator room at about 8:00pm. Fire engines from Tongi and Gazipur were trying to put out the flames till 9:00pm. The workers of two other factories at Konabari and Khailkair also rallied for payment of salaries and dues. http://www. newagebd. com/2008