Hundreds of ready-made garment workers called off demonstration on Saturday as Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) authority assured them of considering their demand.
RMG workers of SGM Knit barricaded the BKMEA building in Karwan Bazar at noon, demanding outstanding wages of this year’s January and February.
They also demanded implementation of maternity leave and minimum wage and reopening of the factory.
Assistant Joint Secretary (Compliance & Labour) of BKMEA Mar-A-Nul Islam Shovin told the Dhaka Tribune, “We have contacted the owner of SGM Knit. He said he would try to pay the arrears and fulfill other demands, but it will take time.”
National Garments Workers Federation president Amirul Haque Amin also vowed to continue their protests if BKMEA and SGM fail to meet their demand.
SGM Knit remains under lock and key since March 22.
“I do not have any money to pay my landlord. If I fail to pay my house rent, I have to live beside road,” said Ishrat Jahan Ruma, a 16-year-old worker of the factory.
Atikur Rahman, another SGM Knit worker said, “I was bitten on Saturday and threatened by some hired goons not to hold any meeting, rally or protest.”
The wages for the month of January were scheduled to be payed on February 14, but the authority deferred the date, promising to pay on February 27.
The SGM authority also missed the second date and promised again to pay them on March 14.
On March 14, workers received threat from local goons and industrial police, they claimed.
After submitting memorandum to the Labour Ministry and the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, the factory authority pledged that they would fulfill their demand.
However, when workers went to the factory on March 22, only 150 workers got half of their wages.
The SGM workers claimed that they were forced to sign on a wage sheet and leave the factory. Since then, the SGM Knit is shut.