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Friday, December 7, 2012
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Tazreen Garment Fire

Commotion over salary persists

More than 100 workers of the fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions demonstrated at Nishchintapur Primary School in Ashulia, demanding salary and compensation yesterday.

They started gathering on the school ground around 8:30am, and began demonstration as their names were not on the list prepared by the factory authorities, industry association and labour rights groups.

Dozens other joined the protest for they got "less salary than expected". Some of them refused to take the money.

Kalpana, who worked at the finishing section of Tazreen, said: “I fled the factory after hearing the fire alarm.”

She refused to take Tk 7,000 the company officials offered.

Kalpana, whose identification card number is 1,823, says she is entitled to a payment of over TK 15,000 -- three months and 13 days' salary at the rate of Tk 2,634 per month, her gross salary of Tk 3,900 for November and another Tk 3,000 for her earned leave she did not enjoy. She joined Tazreen Fashions on April 9, 2011.

“I want my full salary. I refused to take the money [Tk 7,000] on Wednesday,” she told The Daily Star yesterday.

Her colleagues Salma Begum, Jaeda Begum and Nurjahan Begum also did not take their salaries on the same ground.

Some, however, were compelled to accept whatever the factory authorities offered.

“I agreed to take my salary as I am in financial problems. I have to pay my house rent and bills at the grocer,” said Marium Begum. “I got Tk 9,900 but some of my colleagues got Tk 11,000 to 12,000.”

Marium said two of her sisters, Moushumi and Khadiza, who were machine operators, worked on the same floor as she did. But her sisters are not on the list.

Jahanara Akhter, a senior executive, compliance and labour of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said some 150 unlisted workers came to the school ground demanding their pay.

She said the organisation received complaints about some workers getting less salary.

“We have asked the workers to bring documents to support their claims," Jahanara said.

Shahnaz Parveen, a line controller in sewing section of the factory, said 74 workers were under her supervision. Of them, 49 got their salaries while the rest were yet to be paid.

Jahanara said the BGMEA made a list of the missing workers -- the number is 53 so far.

On Wednesday, 1,318 workers got salaries and compensation under BGMEA's supervision.

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