After remaining closed Wednesday in protest of document and computer seizure by the VAT authorities, shipbreaking yards are going to reopen Thursday.
The shipbreakers called off the strike after a meeting with the VAT authorities on Wednesday morning as they were assured of returning the confiscated items.
"We had a meeting with the VAT officials this morning and the issues have been resolved. So, we will start working again tomorrow morning," Nazmul Islam, secretary of Bangladesh Shipbreakers and Recyclers Association, told The Business Standard on Wednesday evening.
On Tuesday, Chattogram VAT Commissionerate raided four shipbreaking factories in Bhatiari of Sitakunda upazila in Chattogram and seized documents and computers, alleging VAT evasion.
Nazmul Islam said three teams of the Customs, Excise & VAT Commissionerate carried out the raids simultaneously on Tuesday afternoon without any notice. The officials took the seized items to the VAT office at Agrabad in the port city.
The Bangladesh Shipbreakers and Recyclers Association subsequently announced an indefinite strike from Wednesday morning.
Hasan Mohammad Tarek Rikabder, additional commissioner at the Chattogram Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate, said they regularly conduct raids on the companies that are evading VAT.
He said they had information that the four yards were evading or could have evaded VAT and for that, they raided the factories and seized the documents.
There are some 150 shipbreaking yards in Sitakunda. Of them, 60 are in operation and 20,000 labourers work at the yards.
The announcement of the strike left the workers in limbo.