Unrest at RMG factories for arrears, Eid bonuses
BGMEA and BKMEA have condemned the vandalism
Workers and employees of over fifty garment and other factories staged demonstrations on Wednesday – demanding their Eid bonuses and due salaries.
Additionally, incidents of vandalism took place and roads were blocked in: Dhaka, Gazipur, Ashulia, and Narayanganj district.
Police authorities tried to reach the factory owners but did not receive any response from them. So, the industrial police authorities were unable to provide a satisfactory solution to the agitating workers.
Consequently, relevant authorities predict there will be widespread disorder on Thursday.
Alongside the ready-made garment (RMG) factories, workers from other factories and industries – including from plastics, chemicals, cables, fans, steel and rerolling mills – also joined the demonstration with the same demands.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) have condemned the vandalism.
A joint statement, signed by BGMEA President Rubana Huq and BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman, said that the vandalism has been damaging the image of the industry.
"Many small, medium and larger compliant factories have been vandalised though they regularly pay salaries and other allowances to their workers," read the statement.
"Many of the factory owners have not answered our phone calls. We have been unable to communicate with them," said Amzad Hossain, police superintendent of Industrial Police headquarters.
"So, we have not been able to make any promises to the agitating workers. However, the police is smoothly tackling the situation," he added.
According to Industrial Police sources, 7,602 factories are operating in six industrial zones.
Some 4,344 factories have paid workers' salaries for April, while 3,258 have not cleared the salaries for April.
Additionally, more than 300 factories have not paid the salaries for March.
Among 7,602 factories, only 828 factories have paid bonuses to their workers. The remaining 6,774 factories have yet to pay bonuses to their workers.
Only 128 factories, among 1,842 factories of BGMEA, have paid bonuses to their workers. Some 1,754 factories have yet to pay bonuses. The factories' authorities have said they will pay bonuses on Thursday and Saturday.
Among the 1,101 factories of BKMEA, 1,064 of them have not cleared the bonuses.
A police official said that the workers are staging demonstrations in the streets for valid reasons.
The workers and employees of Binni Garments have demonstrated in Kamalapur area of the capital. They said that the owner of the factory promised to pay their dues of April through bKash. However, he was unavailable.
Workers of Mohammadi Steel Mills blocked the streets in Demra. Additionally, workers of different garment factories in Mirpur and Kafrul have blocked streets, vandalised property and staged demonstrations for the same demands.
In line with Industrial Police – to control the situation – more members of the police force have been deployed to the areas.
Workers of around 400 industries and factories have staged demonstrations to get their salaries and Eid bonuses.
At around 8am, employees and workers of Classic Fashion, Delta Group blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway in Tongi–creating a 20-kilometre-long tailback in the area.
Police brought the situation under control five hours later. Then, in the evening – around 4.30pm – the workers blocked the highway again.
Data from Industrial Police reads that Wednesday's demonstration took place in: Ashulia, Gazipur, Chattogram, Kanchpur, and Tongi.