Workers of more than 250 garment factories in Gazipur have been staging protest in the streets amid the Covid-19 pandemic as the owners of these factories have not paid their due wages yet.
Md Siddikur Rahman, superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, said 258 factories in Gazipur are yet to pay the salaries of the staffs and workers.
Among these factories, 40 are members of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 27 of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and 11 of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMEA).
He said there are 2,072 garment factories in Gazipur. Of them, 554 factories including BGMEA's 303, BKMEA's 37, and 34 factories of BTMEA resumed their operation until Tuesday.
Shushanta Sarker, additional superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, said, "Some factories are closed for an indefinite time. Eid is coming; some workers are demanding to open the closed factories. They are announcing various programmes to realise their demand."
Stylish Garments Ltd at Bhogra area under Gazipur City Corporation was closed one month ago without paying the March salaries of the staffs and workers.
On Monday, workers of the factory staged a protest demanding the payment of the due wages and asked the authority to open the factory.
They blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway adjacent to the factory, torched motorbikes and bicycles. They also vandalised the glasses of doors and windows' of nearby factories. They disrupted the movement of vehicles in the highway. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.
"We made workers calm after discussing with the workers, labour leaders and authority of the factory. But we do not know how long we can stop them with the assurance of salary if their demand about arrears wages are not met," said Shushanta Sarker, additional superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police.
BHML sweater Factory at Choydana Hurricane area in Gazipur town did not pay March salaries to the workers.
Raziul Hasan, owner of the factory, said, "The stimulus money will reach the workers through the bank. But it is being delayed due to some procedural reasons."
Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporter Association of Bangladesh, said, "Export orders of many factories are being stuck off. Especially, small factories are passing a very bad time, they are in financial crisis. They could not pay the wages of the workers."
"The leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA decided to solve the matter of arrear salaries within next week. They will start paying the arrear wages of the workers from Sunday," he added.