Tuba Group workers continue hunger strike

100 fall sick

Staff Correspondent
At least 30 more apparel workers of five factories of Tuba Group, who are on a hunger strike at a unit of the group at Central Badda in Dhaka for the fourth consecutive day demanding payment of their dues, fall sick pushing the number of such cases to 100 on Thursday. — Indrajit Ghosh

At least 30 more apparel workers of five factories of Tuba Group, who are on a hunger strike at a unit of the group at Central Badda in Dhaka for the fourth consecutive day demanding payment of their dues, fall sick pushing the number of such cases to 100 on Thursday. — Indrajit Ghosh

Workers of Tuba Group continued their hunger strike for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday on the factory premises at Badda in the city demanding their wages and festival allowance.
On the fourth day of the protest, at least 30 workers of five factories of Tuba Group and a labour leader fell sick pushing the number of such cases to 100 in four days.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, however, said in a press briefing on the day that the payment to the workers of the five garment factories of Tuba Group would be made in seven days.
Acting BGMEA president SAM Mannan urged the workers to have patience and said that the association was trying its best to resolve the problem with the cooperation of the government and the bank.
‘We sympathise with workers who did not get wage and festival allowance before Eid…Their hardship has moved us,’ he said in the press briefing at the BGMEA office in the city.
The BGMEA leaders said that the company had failed to pay the workers as its owner Delwar Hossain was in prison in a case filed over the tragic fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd on November 24, 2012 which had killed 112 workers.
Delwar is also the managing director of Tazreen Fashions Ltd.
Workers of Tuba Group said that about 100 workers had fallen sick during the hunger strike and nine of them had been taken to hospital in last four days but the government and BGMEA representatives had not yet initiated any move to meet their lawful demands.
Sandhya Roy, a worker who fell sick on Thursday, told New Age that they
would die but not leave the factory premises until their dues were paid.
‘WE cannot go home without pay as we have to pay house rents and grocers’ dues,’ she said.
Sandhya, along with Mushrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, and more than 50 sick workers lay on the floor taking intravenous saline.
Mushrefa, whose condition turned serious on the day, refused to go to hospital, labour activists said.
Ahmed Mohiuddin, coordinator of the medical team working there, said that eight doctors were giving treatment to the sick workers.
Kulsum Akhter, who worked in Taif Designs Ltd seven years long, said that she was the only bread earner of her family. She earns Tk 7,500 a month.
‘I have been suffering severe hardship for last three months due to non- payment of my wage…,’ she said.
A production manager of Tuba Group alleged that the factories had received sufficient orders but the authorities were unwilling to pay the employees properly.
More than 1,600 workers of the five factories – Bugshan Garments Ltd, Taif Designs Ltd, Tuba Fashions Ltd, Tuba Textiles and Mita Designs Ltd –began the hanger strike on the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding their wages for the months of May, June and July.
Earlier the workers staged demonstrations several times and besieged the BGMEA building but the issue remained unresolved.
Leaders of different left leaning political parties and labour rights groups expressed solidarity with the protests of the workers.
In separate press statements, they called on the Toba Group owners to pay the wages and festival allowance of the workers immediately.
Democratic Left Alliance, a combine of eight left leaning political parties, in a press statement called on the government to take steps to pay the wage and allowance of the workers immediately.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim and Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman demanded immediate payment of the wage and allowance of the workers.
DLA coordinator Shubhrangshu Chakrabarty, Zonayed Saki, Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre adviser Manzurul Ahsan Khan, its president Mantu Ghosh, Dhaka University teacher Akmal Hossain, among others, visited hunger strikers to express solidarity with them.
Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, a combine of 13-labour rights bodies, called on the factory owners to pay the dues of the workers immediately.
The signatories to the statement included Shukkur Mahmud, Shahidullah Chowdhury, Wajed-ul Islam Khan, Shah Mohammad Abu Zafar and Razequzzaman Ratan.



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