Around 500 workers of the Opex group went on a hunger strike on Sunday in front of Shrom Bhaban in the capital's Bijoynagar area demanding their arrears of four months.
In a meeting, presided over by the State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian, in the evening, the factory authorities agreed to pay dues of two months by 17 October, and arrears of the remaining two months by November, Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, president of Bangladesh Textile and Garments Workers Federation, told The Business Standard.
He further said the owner has to pay the workers' arrears within this period, no matter whatever happens. In the event of inability to run the factory, the employer will make arrangements to pay the overdue salaries of all workers according to the labour law, as per the decision taken in the meeting.
Agitated workers will take the next decision regarding their strike, upon getting a written assurance of payment of four months' dues, Mahbubur Rahman Ismail said, at the time of filing the report at 9:00 pm.
Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer & Exporters Association (BGMEA) First Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam, who attended the meeting, told TBS, "The factory owner's money got stuck in the bank. We, BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) - will request the concerned bank to cooperate, the State minister will also request them."
Agitating factory worker Md Sultan, during the hunger strike in the afternoon, told TBS, "As the factory owner did not pay due salaries of workers although he had promised to do so, we are forced to go on a hunger strike."
By the way, Opex Group was once the largest factory in Bangladesh in terms of the number of workers. Its owner Anisur Rahman Sinha, later, diversified his businesses in other sectors. But over the past few years, the company has been plagued by debts.
A few months ago, The Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company disconnected the gas connection of the factory due to non-payment of bills.