When the workers went to the factory on Saturday, they were asked to join other shifts by the factory authorities
Workers of a ready-made garments (RMG) factory in Gazipur blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway from 11am to 12pm on Sunday, demanding the resuming of the factory’s operations and payment of their pending salaries and bonuses.
According to workers of Horizon Limited, when police charged them with batons around 12pm, they had to end the blockade. After that normal road communications resumed in the area.
The factory’s sowing operators – Alamgir Hossain, Torikul Islam, and others – said, without paying the wages for May, the on-going month (June) and Eid bonuses, the factory owners gave them leave before Eid by paying off their previous outstanding wages. Previously, the owners also declared to reopen the factory on June 23 (Saturday).
When the workers went to the factory on Saturday, they were asked to join other shifts by the factory authorities.
When the workers went to the factory on Sunday morning, it was still closed. In response, they took up positions for a peaceful protest at the factory premises. However, police intervened and charged at them with batons, which left at least 15 workers injured.
Later, the workers moved and took up position on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway. Police again charged at them with batons and broke up the protest.
Sowing operators – Shima, Raihan Hossain, Yusuf, and others – said their owners did not pay their outstanding salaries even after the protest. Instead, the owners used “working in other shifts” as an excuse, and closed off the factory, and laid off workers. Workers of all the departments – except for dyeing and knitting – were all driven out of the factory, they said.
“We demand that we get paid according to the labour laws,” the workers added.
Ashraful Islam, the factory’s assistant manager, said: “Accord has refused to take the sowing materials from the factory. That is why the other shifts are made. The workers do not want to understand this. They do not want to join the other shifts.”
Habibur Rahman, inspector of Industrial Police, said: “The allegations of beating the workers are baseless. They ended the blockade around 12pm after we talked to them.”