Labour unrest forced the shut-down of at least 70 apparel factories at Ashulia, Gazipur and Narayanganj Thursday.
Witnesses said that the shut downs followed demonstrations by hundreds of workers demanding better wages.
At some of the factories workers held the demonstrations since Sunday rejecting the new wage structure declared by the government in November.
An operator of Azmat Group garment factory at Kuturia of Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital said that the new wages were not sufficient to meet the soaring costs.
He said the government had increased wage for the seventh grade workers to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 but wages of the six other grades were not increased proportionately.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Siddiquer Rahman denied the allegation and said the wage board proportionately raised the wages for the workers in all the seven grades.
He said that vested quarters were behind the workers’ unrest before the general election.
When asked he could not identify the vested quarters.
He urged the government agencies to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to the book.
BGMEA vice president Mohammed Nasir said that the management of at least 70 factories at Ashulia, Gazipur and Narayanganj were forced to shut down their factories to avoid untoward incidents.
Superintendent of Dhaka Industrial police Sana Shaminur Rahman said that the angry workers vandalised at least seven factories at Ashulia and the unrests forced the closure of 35 factories.
He said workers were demonstrating for wage hike as they were not given their expected wage in recently declared wage structure.
Executive director of Sharmin Group Ismail Hosen said that house rent hikes also influenced the workers to take to the streets.
Workers said their movement would continue until their demands were met.
BGMEA vice president Mohammed Nasir said no fresh wage hike was possible now as many factories would face shut downs if forced to implement the new wage structure from December.
The government in a gazette notification in November set wage for garment sector workers after five years.
Under the latest wage structure minimum wage was fixed at Tk 8,000 up from Tk 5,300 in 2013.
Under it, a grade-7 worker will get Tk 8,000 including basic Tk 4,100, a total of Tk 5,975 per month for a trainee/apprentice worker.
A sixth grade worker would get monthly gross wage of Tk 8,405, a 5th grader Tk 8,855, a 4th grader Tk 9,345 , a 3rd grader Tk 9,590 per month.
A 2nd grader would get the gross wage of Tk 14,630 and the 1st grader -- Tk 17,510.
The new pay structure became effective from December 1.
The workers rejected the new wage structure saying that the wage board failed to meet their expectations.
Labour leaders demanded fixing the minimum basic at Tk 10,000 and the gross Tk 16,000 per month for the beginners.
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