Pay all dues today or face strike: Tuba group workers

Staff Correspondent
A policeman holds a protester by the neck in a bid to disperse apparel workers and leftist activists who laid siege to Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association at Karwan Bazar in Dhakaon Tuesday. —   Indrajit Ghosh

A policeman holds a protester by the neck in a bid to disperse apparel workers and leftist activists who laid siege to Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association at Karwan Bazar in Dhakaon Tuesday. — Indrajit Ghosh

Tuba Group workers on Tuesday threatened to go for tougher agitations including strike if Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Tuba authority failed to pay their wages for three months and allowances today.
They issued the ultimatum as Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee besieged Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s headquarters pressing for their five-point demands.
The demands include payment of outstanding wages for three months and allowances at a time, cancellation of
bail granted by the High Court to Tuba Group owner Delwer Hossain, ensuring job of the workers making Tuba Group factories operational and compensating workers who were on fast unto death.
The owners’ association, however, in a statement invited the protesting workers to receive their wages for two months from the association office today.
The association would bear no responsibility of wages in future for the workers who would fail to receive the wages today, the statement said.
Several hundred workers laid siege to the association building at Karwanbazar at about 11:30am braving obstacles created by the police, who also charged baton.
‘The BGMEA leaders must to go to the factory floors at Badda in the city where the workers continued fast unto death for the ninth day and they must pay all arrears at a time,’ said Tuba Group worker Miraj Ahmed addressing the rally in front of the association building.
He said that agitated workers would not receive wages for two months and if the factory authority and the association leaders failed to pay all arrears by today, the workers would enforce strike in industrial belts across the country.
Rejecting the proposal of the association and shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, worker leader Mohammed Sumon said that the association and the shipping minister made the decision through discussion with some trade union leaders who were working as agents of the apparel factory owners.

Eminent citizens form a human chain in front of the Supreme Court in Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding payment of wages of workers as per Bangladesh Labour Law 2006. — New Age photo

Eminent citizens form a human chain in front of the Supreme Court in Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding payment of wages of workers as per Bangladesh Labour Law 2006. — New Age photo

He said that it was a mockery that the government and the association held negotiation meeting without representations of the protesting workers.
Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation president Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, Garment Worker Trade Union Centre joint secretary Joly Talukder, Garments Sramik Oikya Forum general secretary Shahidul Islam Sabuj, Garment Sramik Sanghati coordinator Taslima Akther, OSK Garment and Textile Workers Federation general secretary Prokash Datta and Combined Garment Workers Federation president Rafiqul Islam Pathik, among others, attended the programme.
Eminent citizens strongly protested the move of releasing Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain on bail obtained taking 1600 workers hostage.
In a statement, they said that if Delwar got bail, it would question the country’s justice delivery system.
They demanded exemplary punishment of Delwar for killing 112 workers in the Tazrin garments fire in 2012 and taking hostage of the workers of Tuba group by not paying their wages and festival allowances.
They censured the statement of state minister for labour affairs that there would be no problem to pay wages and festival allowances to the protesting workers if Delwar was released.
Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad on Tuesday at a meeting with the state minister for labour, Mohammad Mujibul Haque, urged that government to take steps for paying the arrears of Tuba Group workers at a time.
They also urged the state minister to hold talks with the apparel worker leaders involved in the hunger strike.
SKOP leaders Shahidullah Chowdhury, Shukkur Mahmud, Safiuddin Ahmed, Wajed-ul Islam Khan, Razequzzaman Ratan and others attended the meeting.

Professor emeritus Serajul Islam Chaudhury addresses a token hunger strike of Dhaka University teachers in solidarity with the demands of Tuba Group workers on the campus on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Professor emeritus Serajul Islam Chaudhury addresses a token hunger strike of Dhaka University teachers in solidarity with the demands of Tuba Group workers on the campus on Tuesday. — New Age photo

A group of teachers from different universities observed a four-hour hunger strike at the base of Aparajeya Bangla at the Dhaka University demanding immediate payment of arrears of the Tuba workers.
Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Chaudhury, Dhaka University’ teachers Tanzimuddin Khan and Khorsed Alam, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology teacher Asifur Rahman, Jahangirnagar University teacher Asifur Rahman, among others, attended the hunger strike.
Civic leaders and Supreme Court lawyers on Tuesday protested the non-payment of wages of Tuba Group workers even after one week’s hunger strike and denounced the government’s inaction to address the issue.
Addressing a human chain at the Supreme Court main gate, they alleged that keeping the 1600 workers’ lives hostage by not paying their three months’ wages and festival allowance was a trick of obtaining bail for Delwar.
Ain o Salish Kendra executive director Sultana Kamal, addressing the human chain, said that it was inhumane that the workers were on movement for seven days for their just demands but they were not paid their dues.
New Age editor Nurul Kabir said, ‘Eid is a religious and social festival. When 1,800 workers do not get their wages during this festival and government remains silent, any sensible person should protest against the ruling class’ inaction.’
Supreme Court lawyer ZI Khan Panna said that Delwar was in jail for killing 112 workers of Tazreen Fashions in 2012 and keeping 1600 workers’ lives hostage was a criminal offence.
National Committee to Protect Oil Gas Mineral Resources Power and Ports member-secretary Anu Muhammad alleged that a section of people had been plotting to confine judicial system in the clutch of money and power.
Women leader Khushi Kabir urged for strong movement so that none can escape punishment by doing illegal activities with their power and money.
She demanded immediate payment of all the dues of the agitating workers.
Oil Gas Committee convener Sheikh Md Shahidullah, Ganasangahati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki and lawyers ABM Siddiqur Rahman and M Moinul Islam also addressed the programme.



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