Worker unrest in protest against the new wage structure continues to flare up at different readymade garment factories in Dhaka and its adjoining districts ahead of the December 30 national polls as initiatives so far taken by the government and factory owners to address the workers’ demand have failed to satisfy the workers.
On Tuesday, authorities of more than 20 factories at Mirpur in Dhaka and in Gazipur were forced to shut their factories for the day as workers took to the streets demanding better wages.
On December 13, authorities of 70 factories had to keep their factories shut for the same reason. The worker unrest that began on December 9 in the Ashulia industrial belt in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj also saw more incidences of factory closure in between December 13 to 25.
The government and factory owners held several meetings and requested the workers to maintain peaceful environment in the RMG sector ahead of the national election.
The new RMG wage structure came into force on December 1.
According to sector people, a production manager at Confidence Industries Ltd located at Mirpur-12 in Dhaka on Tuesday assaulted two female workers as they demanded their wages for the month of November.
Following the incident hundreds of workers took to the streets and fellow workers from other factories joined them.
Salahuddin Shapon, president of Bangladesh Revolutionary Garment Workers Federation, said that the payments of wages and overtime of the workers for the month of November remained unpaid at the factory.
The agitating workers suspended their demonstration after police detained the production manager and the local lawmaker assured the workers of solving their problems.
Officials of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association confirmed that owners of 10-12 factories at Mirpur in Dhaka were forced to shut their units on Tuesday due to work abstention by their workers.
BGMEA sources also said that production at more than 15 factories in Gazipur remained suspended on the day as workers continued observing their work abstention programme in protest against the new wage structure.
Amid the worker protest, owners of more than 10 factories on Monday shut their units for an indefinite period.
Along with the 10 factories, production at seven other factories remained suspended on Tuesday as workers refused to continue work in the units demanding better wages, sources said.
According to the labour leaders, more than 10 factories including Tasnia Fashions, Multifabs Ltd, Mondol Group, Cotton BD Proud, Cotton BD Fashions and Alim Knitwear located at Konabari in Gazipur remained closed on Tuesday under section 13/1 of BLA.
The section empowers the owners to close factory amid workers’ unrest without providing them any benefit.
‘Along with the government, we the trade union leaders also requested workers not to hold any demonstration before national polls but unrest continues in the sector,’ said Salahuddin, also the secretary general of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
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