At least 20 have been injured during a clash in a Next Collection factory of Hamim Group in Ashulia today (30 October).
The incident took place as some alleged workers entered the factory and clashed with the factory staff.
Ashulia Women and Children Hospital Manager Haron-or-Rashid said around 20 injured people came to their hospital for treatment.
"Of them, 4-5 whose conditions are somewhat serious have been sent to Dhaka for better treatment," he added.
The rest are being treated at the hospital.
Md Tajul Uddin, quality-in-charge of the second floor of the factory, said, "We were working on the second floor of the factory as usual. Some angry workers from outside broke our gate around 11am, entered the factory, and started beating us."
Around 7am in the morning, workers from different garment factories took to the streets in Savar-Ashulia, opposing the Tk10,400 minimum wage proposed by garment factory owners and demanding a minimum wage of Tk20,390.
The protests began at the Hemayetpur Padmar Moor area in Savar and Tongi-Ashulia-EPZ road in Ashulia.
An eyewitness said workers from Standard Group barricaded The Civil Engineers Wash Ltd and The Civil Engineer Oven Ltd near the factory premises.
They obstructed the road at Bagbari Moor, preventing workers from various factories from joining their duties, the eyewitness said.
When local police and industrial police attempted to disperse the protestors, they allegedly threw brickbats in response.
At one point, police responded by firing tear gas.
Kabir Hossain, the joint general secretary of the Central Committee of the National Garment Workers Federation, appealed to all workers to maintain peace.
He said labour leaders are actively negotiating wage increment demands at the Wage Board. Once the new wage was finalised, they would support the workers during its implementation.
Following the recent worker protests and disruptions in this area, the Standard Group has declared a general holiday for all their factories in that area.
However, despite multiple attempts, no official statement has been obtained from the Standard Group regarding this matter.
"Initially, recently laid-off workers from Dard Group had gathered, demanding their overdue wages. They later tried to instigate workers from other factories. Our efforts were focused on calming them down. However, when the workers targeted the police with bricks and stones, then we had to use tear gas shells to disperse the workers and restore order," said Mahmud Naser Johny, additional superintendent of Industrial Police 1.
Explaining the situation in Ashulia, ASP Rashedul Bari of Industrial police-1 said, "Workers from several factories have been gathering on the streets since morning. We have been trying to maintain order by directing them away from the road from one side, but they keep coming back from the other side. We are working to normalise the situation."
Earlier on 21 October, readymade garments factory workers demanded that their minimum wage be increased from the existing Tk8,000 to Tk20,390 while the owners have proposed to increase it to Tk10,400.
Following the meeting, one of the RMG workers' representatives, Sirajul Islam Rony, said, "Wages need to be increased due to inflation. We have also considered the ability of the factory owners as well."
The new wages will come into effect in December, and the workers will receive the increased salary in January, he added.
Wage Board Chairman Liaquat Ali Molla said another meeting will be held on 1 November.
On 8 October, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) recommended Tk17,568 as the minimum wage for garment workers in the country.
Considering inflation and the living cost of four-member families, the private think tank proposed this wage for workers in grade seven, the entry-level in the sector.
Attending another event organised by CPD on 3 October, Charge D'Affaires at the Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh Thijs Woudstra said, "Bangladesh [should] move away from 'low wage trap' when graduates [from LDC status]."
"By any stretch of the imagination, it isn't a very healthy way to live on that salary, particularly if you have kids to feed," EU Ambassador Charles Whitely said at the program.
Whitely said the responsibility is not solely on the government or the industry but also on brands and buyers, urging real engagement and partnerships to address the challenges faced by workers.