7 RMG workers hurt in clashes with police

Bangladesh on 07 August 2013
Location : Dhaka, Bangladesh | Source : New Age. Image Source: New Age

Apparel workers blocked roads, vandalised factories and clashed with the police in Dhaka and Gazipur on Sunday demanding the payment of their wages and festival allowances before Eid.

At least seven workers were injured as the police and miscreants had attacked the workers going on demonstrations for their payment.

At least six workers of TH Fashions were injured as the police and miscreants had attacked the workers rallying at Hatirpool in the capital for payment.

The factory management said an official carrying Tk 30 lakh after withdrawing the amount from the Motijheel branch of Exim Bank, had been mugged at Paribagh. The money was meant for distribution to workers in wages.
The management said that director Md Mozammal Haque who was carrying the money. As his car reached Paribagh, a group of miscreants stopped the car and snatched the bag containing the money.

The workers blocked the road passing by Motaleb Plaza about 4:15pm demanding their wages.

Billal Hossain, a worker, said, ‘The authorities usually carry money in police escort. In this case, they did not take police protection. The authorities staged the drama so that it did not need to pay us our wages before Eid,’ Billal said.

As the workers blocked the road, the police and a few miscreants attacked them, in which at least half a dozen workers were injured. The workers alleged that the police had fired rubber bullets to disperse them. 
The factory manager, Shafiqual Islam, said that some Awami League activists had attacked the workers in the presence of the police as they refused to call off he barricade. He also said that police had also charged at them with truncheons and fired rubber bullets.

Shahbagh police inspector (investigation) Abdul Jalil told New Age that there was a scuffle between local people and apparel workers. The police fired blank shots to contain the situation. He, however, brushed aside the allegations of workers being injured in police firing.

The TH Fashions Limited managing director, Mosharraf Hossain Dhali, told New Age that an unexpected incident had taken place. They did not requested police protection thinking that it would not be that much risky. They authorities said that they would file a case with the Shahbagh police.

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, an apparel workers’ rights group, in a release, condemned the incident. They alleged that every year, apparel owners were showing various excuses to not to pay workers their wages before Eid.
The New Age correspondent in Gazipur said that workers of an apparel factory at Kewa of Sreepur in the district had gone on the rampage in protest at the payment of an amount in festival allowance lower than the amount given in the past and to workers of other factories.

Workers of Sarah Composite Limited, a jute bag manufacturing unit, vandalised the factory demanding a higher amount in festival allowance.

The workers vandalised the factory and smashed glasses. Assistant production manager Hafizur Rahman, 35, was injured as a chuck of a glass fell on him.

Worker Azizul Islam said that most of the factories in the area had already paid the workers festival allowance. But the factory authorities started paying their festival bonus from the second shift about 2.30pm on Sunday.
Their fellows were also being paid a lower amount compared with what workers of other factories had received and the figure of the past years, Azizul said.

Saddam, another worker, said that this year workers were getting Tk 950 in festival allowance and the figure as Tk 2,000 in the past year. 

In some cases, he said, ‘Some workers who have already worked for a year in the factory received Tk 600 or Tk 595 in festival allowance.’ 

the workers alleged that even a few workers were getting Tk 100 in festival allowance.

The workers complained that some officials were stashing away a huge portion of their festival allowance money. 

Belal Hossain, administration and human resources manager of the factory, however, brushed aside the allegations. He said that the workers of the second shift had damaged the glasses of the factory by levelling false charges.

Sreepur police subinspector Achintya Debnath said that the workers had vandalised the factory.

Workers of Saj Fashions Limited on Friday blocked a road stretch and vandalised Jahangir Tower at Karwan Bazar demanding the payment of their wages before Eid.

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