150 RMG factories closed in Savar, Ashulia
Published: 2013-11-12 13:01:06.0 BdST Updated: 2013-11-12 19:10:56.0 BdST
At least 150 ready-made garment factories have been closed down at Savar's Ashulia after clashes erupted between workers and police.
Around one hundred persons, including police and pedestrians, have been injured in the clashes.
The workers were demanding implementation of the government-sponsored wage-board recommendation of Tk 5,300 minimum monthly wage for the workers.
The clashes erupted after the workers started agitating for their demand around 8am on Tuesday.
At least 20 persons, including workers, were hit by rubber bullets.
They were admitted to local clinics.
The angry workers pelted factories with brickbats.
They also blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway.
When police stopped them, clashes erupted.
Another group of protesting workers blocked a road in front of Ha-Meem Group in Narsinghpur area.
Some agitators set fire to an office room of Next Collection factory.
Police fired rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas canisters to control the situation.
Sajeda Begum, one angry worker, said they would continue their protests until the owners pay minimum wage of Tk 5,300.
Industrial Police-1 Ashulia zone Inspector Abdus Sattar said the workers had been agitating for the last several days.
Additional police contingents have been deployed to avoid further untoward incident.
Border Guard Bangladesh troopers are also patrolling the area, he said.
In Gazipur, one factory was closed down for an indefinite period and three others closed for the day.
Gazipur Industrial Zone Assistant Superintendent of Police Mosharraf Hossain said the workers of SM Knitwear factory in Sreepur area got upset when they saw a closure notice.
Besides, authorities of DBL, Mitali and JMS factories declared holiday for Tuesday following demonstrations by the workers.
Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju after a meeting with factory owners on Monday had said that the minimum wage would be finalised by Nov 21.
He also urged workers to return to their factories.
The government had formed a wage board in June this year to revise the salary of the RMG workers that stood at Tk 3,000 per month.
On Nov 4, the wage board recommended Tk 5,300 as minimum wage.
But BGMEA and BKMEA representatives walked out of the Wage Board meeting, refusing to accept the amount.
They also threatened to shut factories if forced to pay anything over Tk 4,500.
The garment owners’ initially offered a minimum wage of Tk 3,600, but later they agreed to raise to TK 4,250.
On the other hand the workers’ representatives have been demanding Tk 8,100 as the minimum wage.
But they gradually scaled down their demand to Tk 6,000, then to Tk 5,500, before finally agreeing to Tk 5,300.
The proposed minimum wage of Tk 5,300 includes a basic salary of Tk 3,200, house rent Tk 1,280, medical allowance Tk 320, conveyance allowance Tk 200, and a food subsidy of Tk 30.
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