Huge Tuba workers turnout at BGMEA

A lot of workers of Tuba Group were seen at the BGMEA office on Thursday collecting their partial dues.

Ashik Hossainbdnews24.com
Published : 7 August 2014, 07:58 AM
Updated : 7 August 2014, 08:40 AM

The BGMEA representing garment factory owners had promised to pay two months' salary dues to the Tuba workers but the response on Wednesday, when the payments started, was fairly poor.

Some of the workers told bdnews24.com that they had no options but to accept the two months' salary despite going on a hunger strike since July 28 for three months' wages and allowances.

The BGMEA promised to pay partial dues of the workers from Wednesday and only 550 workers, out of the almost 1,600, showed up to receive it on Day one.

But, on Thursday, 145 workers collected their dues within the first 90 minutes after payments started at 10 am.

A long queue of Tuba workers could be seen at the ground floor of the BGMEA office in the capital's Karwan Bazaar area.

Ashia, who works for Tuba-owned Bukshan Garments, collected her two months' due salary.

"My children's exams are ahead. I asked many to lend some money, but did not get any. I know, I am betraying with (Moshrefa) Mishu, but I have no other options," she said while speaking to bdnews24.com.

Labour activist Moshrefa Mishu and her organisation Garments Sramik Oikya Forum expressed solidarity with protesting workers from the very beginning.

Nazma, an operator of Tuba-owned Tayeeb Design, collected Tk 13,000 as salaries for two months on Thursday from the BGMEA.

She told bdnews24.com that she spent Tuesday night at the factory, but left the next evening as there was no drinking water.

Around 1,600 workers of five Tuba-owned factories have gone on a hunger strike for the last ten days demanding payment of dues for three months and the Eid festival bonus.

Most of the protesting workers continued with their agitation rejecting the BGMEA's call to withdraw it and to accept partial dues earlier this week.

The agitators announced that they would call for strike in garment factories across the country if their five demands are not met by Thursday.

The demands are -- immediate payment of unpaid three months' wages, overtime and Eid bonus, factories be kept open so that over 1,500 workers can retain their livelihood, compensation for workers who have fallen ill, 'cancellation' of Tuba Group Managing Director Delwar Hossain’s bail and compensation for the victims of Tazreen Fashions fire.

On Wednesday, police along with several labour leaders called protesting workers to receive the BGMEA-organised dues at the factory premises where the agitation is going on.

Later on the day, law enforcers entered the factory and evicted the labour activists who were agitating with Tuba workers.

Labour leaders, who took part in the Aug 3 tripartite meeting at the BGMEA office, were seen active on Thursday at the trade body's premises, who the protestors have been labelling as 'traitors'.

Protestors alleged them of forcing agitating workers at the factory to collect the pay by BGMEA.

"We have been saying from the beginning that two months' salaries will be given by Aug 10. But Mishu (Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president) is trying to create instability through this issue. The sector needs to be stable for the sake of the workers. That's why we did not go for any type of movement," said Bodrudozza Mizan, member secretary of labour body, Sramik Coordination Parishad.

Moshrefa Mishu, who has been participating in the hunger strike with the workers that started since July 28, said on Wednesday that she fears the police might evict her from the factory.

Tuba-owned Bukshan Garment's operator Hawa came to BGMEA on Thursday to collect dues.

"I was at the factory until Wednesday. The police arrived in the noon. They were not either allowing anyone to leave or come in with food and water in the factory. Some of the workers fell sick in the afternoon and I came out with them. I went back this morning but the police did not let me in. What else can I do...so, I came here to collect the dues."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher