Police storm Tuba factory, drive protesters out

Staff Correspondent
Police personnel seize Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu after dispersing workers of Tuba Group, who were on hunger strike since July 28, at Badda in Dhaka on Thursday.  — New Age photo

Police personnel seize Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu after dispersing workers of Tuba Group, who were on hunger strike since July 28, at Badda in Dhaka on Thursday.
— New Age photo

The police on Thursday stormed a factory of Tuba Group at Badda in the capital and drove out the workers who had been on a hunger strike there for last 11 days for wage arrears and festival allowance.
Police fired rubber bullets, used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse the workers leaving at least 10 of them, including newsmen, injured.
At least 1,200 workers of five factories of Tuba Group — Tuba Textiles, Tuba Fashions, Mita Designs, Taif Designs and Bughsan Garments — had been on the hunger strike since July 28 at Hossain Market at Badda, demanding wages for May, June and July along with overtime bills and festival allowance.
From Thursday morning, workers from different nearby garment factories started gathering in front of the
Tuba factory building to express their solidarity with the hunger striking workers but police swung into action to disperse them triggering clashes.
The stone-hurling workers damaged over 50 vehicles forcing traffic to halt on Badda road for two hours.
A contingent of police barged into the factory housed on the seventh floor of Hossain Market and drove the workers out charging batons and leaving at least 10 people, including newsmen, injured.
The police detained Garment Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu, who was leading the hunger strike, Garment Workers Trade Union Centre joint general secretary Joly Talukder and several others during the drive, according to garment workers’ leader Zahirul Islam. Police later in the night released Mishu.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangarm Parishad, announced a dawn-to-dusk industrial strike in all garment factories across the country for Saturday in protest against the police action.
The organisation will also stage demonstrations at different garment factories today.

Hunger striking workers of Tuba Group who sustained injuries in police attack on them at Badda in Dhaka are being taken to hospital on Thursday. — Snigdha Zaman

Hunger striking workers of Tuba Group who sustained injuries in police attack on them at Badda in Dhaka are being taken to hospital on Thursday. — Snigdha Zaman

Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Parishad leader Zahirul Islam at a protest rally in front of the National Press Club announced the programme.
Besides, different left leaning political parties, including Democratic Left Alliance, and Communist Party of Bangladesh, staged demonstrations in front of the National Press Club protesting at the police action against the Tuba Group workers.
Democratic Left Alliance at a protest rally extended its support to the strike programme.
Saiful Huq,  Zonayed Saki, Mosharraf Hossain Nannu, Shahidul Islam Sabuj  and others spoke at the rally.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Socialist Party of Bangladesh at a protest rally at the same venue and also extended their solidarity with the garment workers.
Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters’ Association claimed that 99 per cent of the Tuba Group workers and employees had collected two months’ wages disbursed by the association on behalf of Tuba Group on Thursday.
Following lukewarm response from Tuba workers to collect two months’ wages from the BGMEA office, the BGMEA had extended the time for receiving wages up to Thursday
evening. It said that the workers wanted to receive the wages but a quarter was trying to use them as pawns and had seized their identity cards so that they could not collect their wages.

Police obstruct a procession of Gana Adhikar Sangram Committee brought out at Dhaka University in protest at police attack on Tuba Group workers on Thursday.— New Age photo

Police obstruct a procession of Gana Adhikar Sangram Committee brought out at Dhaka University in protest at police attack on Tuba Group workers on Thursday.— New Age photo

BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam at a press conference at its headquarters claimed that around 1,350 out of 1,458 workers had collected the two months’ wages, while BGMEA officials later told New Age that all but 20 workers had collected the wages until Thursday.
Terming ‘Tuba agitation an isolated incident, the BGMEA president alleged that some workers did not collect the wages due to a smear campaign and many of the workers were obstructed by a certain quarter when they were coming to BGMEA headquarters to collect the wages.
He said the wage for the third month, July, would be paid to the workers and staff of Tuba Group by August 10.
‘We have talked to Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain about the matter,’ he added.
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan, who also attended the press conference, said he along with the BGMEA leaders had sat with Delwar Hossain to resolve the problem. ‘We have asked Delwar to make arrangement any means to pay the wage for the month of July by August 10 and told him that otherwise legal action would be taken against him,’ he added.
Shajahan Khan, also the Garment Sramik Samannay Parishad convener, alleged that the Tuba workers’ movement might have been politically motivated as the workers demanded resignation of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
State minister for labour Mujibul Haque also attended the press conference.
BGMEA officials said Shajahan Khan and Mujibul Haque had a meeting with Delwar at Sonargaon hotel Thursday afternoon and they were expected to hold another meeting with him tonight at the same place.



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