Home Bangladesh Garment workers in fear of mass arrest
Bangladesh - November 13, 2023

Garment workers in fear of mass arrest

Owners sought factory protection

Gazipur Correspondent: One of the hearts of Gazipur industrial area is Konabari area of Gazipur metropolis.Massive labor demonstrations and protests took place in these industrial areas demanding the withdrawal of the new minimum wage. At that time, a case has been registered against 11 people and 4 thousand others who are not named in the case of vandalism of a police car during the clash with the garment workers.
On Friday (November 10) 11 people were arrested and sent to jail on suspicion of being involved in the incident.However, since this case and the workers were sent to the court, thousands of garment workers in this industrial area have become restless due to the fear of mass arrest.In an interview, the garment workers said that since the case was filed, the police administration and influential circles have been harassing and intimidating the workers in various ways.
Due to this, the fear of mass arrest has spread among the workers of Gazipur industrial area. The government has announced the minimum wage for the garment workers of the country. On Tuesday (November 7) afternoon, 3 hours after the wage announcement, the garment workers unions of the country have rejected the minimum wage announced by the government.
After this, from Thursday (November 9) morning, workers of at least 20 garment factories started violent protests and protests in Gazipur industrial area, rejecting this wage.At that time, the garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways in Gazipur and protested. In a massive clash between the workers and the police, some police officers and members were injured.
After the lunch break that day, the workers of Gazipur industrial area started protesting.First, workers from various factories in Konabari BSCIC area came out.Then they blocked important regional roads while marching.When the police chased them away, the agitated workers protested by blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway.
Then the factory workers named Tuska Garments Limited also came down the road.Clashes with law and order forces continued till afternoon. In this regard, RAB-1 Porabari Camp Company Commander Major Md. Yasir Arafat Hossain said, we request the workers to remain calm.They ignored the request and went on strike and started vandalism.Later, law enforcement officials tried to evacuate the workers.
Additional Superintendent of Police of Gazipur-2 Industrial Police Moinul Haque said, we always believe that workers love peace.However, they are trying to be exploited by evil circles.
He also said that during the movement of garment workers, the police always told them to leave the road first.But the workers blocked the road and tried to attack the law enforcement personnel.Later, the police took necessary measures to disperse them.
Note that according to the finalized wage proposal for garment workers, the basic salary will be 54.60 percent of the total wages.That is, the basic salary will be Tk 6,700 out of Tk 12,500 wages.And half of the basic salary is the rent.Apart from this, food allowance is Tk 1,250, medical allowance is Tk 750 and travel allowance is Tk 450.Wages will increase at the rate of 5 percent of the basic salary every year.The new pay structure will have five grades instead of seven.The new wages will come into effect on December 1 and the workers will get wages as per the new structure in January.
130 factories closed
All activities of 130 garment factories have been stopped indefinitely, said Farooq Hasan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). He said, for the safety of the employees and workers in the garment factories and to protect the factory property, all the activities of these factories have been closed for an indefinite period.
BGMEA president Farooq Hasan gave this information at a press conference on ‘minimum wages and current labor situation in the garment industry’ at the BGMEA office in Uttara yesterday.
BGMEA president said that despite the increase in wages, factories are being vandalized in various places in the name of agitation. Since the wage announcement, some unidentified unruly workers in several factories have gone on illegal strike and beaten up the officials. Extensive vandalism and destruction were carried out inside the factory.
Due to the situation, management authorities of about 130 garment factories in Ashulia, Kashimpur, Mirpur and Konabari areas decided to close indefinitely. The owners of these factories decided to keep the factories closed mainly for the safety of the officers, employees and workers and to protect the factory property. Work is going on in the factories where the workers are interested to work. Their work will continue.
BGMEA President Farooq Hasan said that the number of factories closed in the country in the fiscal year 2020-21 due to the corona epidemic is 317. More 260 factories have closed down due to inability to maintain competitive capacity due to other reasons post-Corona.
Along with the rise of industry, the number of closed factories is also increasing. The factory is closed due to various crises. So far, about 6,885 garment factories have accepted the membership of BGMEA, but over time, 3,964 member factories have closed due to various reasons. 317 factories were closed in FY 2020-21 due to Corona pandemic alone and 260 factories were closed later due to inability to maintain competitive capacity due to other reasons.
Farooq Hasan said that the issue of the deepest crisis within the industry is not being published in the media. The statistics of factory closures tell how much uncertainty the factories are running in the midst of crisis. No entrepreneur wants the industrial factory built by his tireless efforts to close down. But there are some factors beyond external control from the influence of which the industry cannot escape even if it wants to, the industry has to accept it. This is the harsh reality of this industry.
It is very sad that when we are engaged in the struggle to survive under the two-pronged pressure of ‘global and financial’, just then, many activities have started with the industry. Especially our peaceful labor groups are being incited and agitated.
We note with deep concern that factories are being vandalized in various places in the name of agitation despite the increase in wages. The affected factories have given us the video footage in this regard, and have also given us the copy of the case.

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