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Monday, December 3, 2012
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Police chase and charge truncheons on reportedly innocent garment workers of AM Design in Ashulia yesterday after a group of unruly workers went on the rampage there. Photo: Anisur Rahman
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Stemming from the Tazreen Fashions disaster, garment and leather workers' agitations in Ashulia industrial belt continued yesterday as they attacked several factories and clashed with industrial police.

They halted traffic on Dhaka-Tangail highway at Jamgara for about 45 minutes.

Police had to resort to teargas, rubber bullets and truncheon charge to disperse them as the workers fought running battles with them.

Mitu, a staff of MD Jeans, lost consciousness when police charged truncheons.

The workers' unrest began since a fire on November 24 claimed 111 lives at Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia.

The demonstrations yesterday began around 9:00am when nearly 1,000 workers of leather factory Picard Bangladesh Ltd in Zirabo came out of their factory to protest garments workers' attack on their unit on Saturday.

Golam Rouf, director of industrial police, said workers of adjoining garment factories also took to the streets then but police promptly dispersed them. The workers were only interested in dodging a day's work using any excuse available, he claimed.

Rouf said just before 11:00am, 25 garment workers attacked the Rose Dress factory. The 25 workers had been suspended by Hyun Apparels Ltd, now temporarily closed, in connection with assaulting a factory official.

Workers of Rose Dress then rushed out and started vandalising adjoining factories including Sterling Creations Ltd and Setara Garments.

They broke windowpanes of the factories.

Industrial police rushed to Jamgara, chased the workers, lobbed teargas canisters, fired rubber bullets and brought the situation under control around 11:30am.

Fearing vandalism, the authorities of different factories in the neighbourhood stopped production and let the workers go home for the day.

A chaotic situation was created in the area with the sudden rush of hundreds of workers on the highway and its adjacent roads.

All workers of Tazreen Fashions would get their salaries by Thursday, Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju yesterday said.

However, there is a dispute over the number of workers to be paid and how many months of salary they would get.

The government would sit with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to discuss these issues, TV channel ATN Bangla quoted the minister as saying.

The minister was speaking to the press after a meeting with US Ambassador Dan Mozena.

The US ambassador said the US hopes the government would ensure the security of the workers and their right to unionise. Otherwise, Bangladesh might be deprived of the potential preferential access to the US apparel market, he added.

Meanwhile, survivors of the Tazreen disaster said they would not accept just one month's salary since they might have to be out of a job for a long time.

They demand that they get paid four months and 13 days' salary altogether, which, according to the workers, factories have to pay to workers in case of any closure.

However, according to the government rule, a garment factory has to provide its workers with the salaries of three months and 13 days if it is closed or a worker is dismissed.

Tazreen Fashions has 1,700 employees, of whom, 1,630 are workers, according to the website of Tuba Group, which owns the factory.

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If the four (4) months salary is not not paid you have to pay them their salary as they demanded. This is their legitimate right and we need to find out why those backlog of salary payment is due in the first place.

: OpeeMonir

The world is watching the human disaster at Ashulia with woe. Not only had the relatives of the dead got any compensation nor the injured fighting for their lives in hospitals/clinics or those receiving treatment at home. Added to such misery is the non payment of workers' wages for realization of which workers are restive. The BGMEA is a dismal show piece which exists only to represent the owners’ interest to earn a bigger slice of profits and possess no milk of human kindness for the factory hands working under them. In fact, the employees are economic harijans struggling for their recognition before our conscience. The foreign buyers ought to consider labor conditions and their interest before any deal is struck with the harsh manufacturers.

: Reaz Hassan


  • rch
    Monday, December 3, 2012 03:06 AM GMT+06:00 (286 weeks ago)

    PM Hasina should go there and assure with all the BGMEA members the workers that they are not alone and they will be taken care of---I thought a good leader should have this common sense to calm down the situation and show resolve to provide solution in practical terms not by mere words. Unfortunately, quality of leadership is quite low is not it?

  • Dr. M. Badruddoja
    Monday, December 3, 2012 07:22 AM GMT+06:00 (286 weeks ago)

    Owners of garment industries are earning billions of dollars at the cost of the heroes and heroines of Bangladesh. So what is hold up in paying these workers of Tazreen Fashion for three months and thirteen days salary? Current government should actively involve in this dispute. If government does not participate then High Court should issue a ruling in favour of workers of Tazreen Fashion.

  • Md. Ilias Hossain
    Monday, December 3, 2012 12:21 PM GMT+06:00 (286 weeks ago)

    Government have to find out for the being of unrest.





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