200 Ashulia RMG units shut after worker-cop clash

Workers of readymade garments hurl brick chips when they clash with police at Ashulia, on the outskirt area of the capital, Tuesday morning demanding Tk 8,114 minimum monthly wage. Photo: STAR

Production at around 200 garment factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, was suspended for today after workers demonstrating for Tk 8,114 minimum wage clashed with cops in the morning.

At least 50 workers were injured during sporadic clashes which took place at Jamgara, Jirani, Kabirpur, Baipail, Palash Bari, Narashinghapur, Nishchintapur, Ghoshbagh, Pukurpar and Kathgara areas, witnesses said.

Hundreds of workers from different garment factories took to the streets and started demonstration around 9:00am.

They locked into clashes with police at different spots when the latter tried to disperse the workers.

As the unruly labourers hurled brick chunks at law enforcers, police charged batons and fired several rounds of teargas canisters and rubber bullets, leaving at least 50 people hurt.

The injured were admitted to different local clinics and hospitals including Women and Child Health Centre.

The authorities of around 200 garment units shut their production for today fearing vandalism, Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The Daily Star.

The RMG workers also staged demonstration in Ashulia yesterday and Saturday to press home their demand. More than 100 people including policemen were injured during the two days’ clashes, which forced several RMG units to shut production.

A labour unrest has erupted in the country’s apparel sector since last several months this year seeking revision of the workers’ minimum wage.

Meanwhile, the garment workers’ wage board on November 4 finalised its recommendation that Tk 5,300 should be the minimum salary for workers.

Factory owners, who are board members, however, rejected the proposed 76.66 percent minimum salary hike from the existing Tk 3,000.

The board fixed Tk 3,200 as basic pay, Tk 1,280 house rent, and Tk 320 medical allowance. It also included Tk 200 transport allowance and Tk 300 as food subsidies, said judge AK Roy, chairman of the six-member wage board.

Failing to reach a consensus on the minimum salary thrice before, the board in its ninth meeting went for a vote on the same day and the recommendation was passed 4-0, with factory owners in the board refraining from voting.

Source: The Daily Star


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