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500 RMG workers sued over unrest, 12 more held

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More than 500 garment workers have been named in a case filed by a factory after labour unrest led to a tense stand off in Ashulia’s industrial area.

The Ham-Meem Group lodged the case on Wednesday, said Ashulia police’s Inspector (investigation) AKM Shamim Hasan.

Meanwhile, 12 including two workers’ leaders were nabbed on Thursday. 19 have been detained so far over the unrest.

Inspector Shamim, however, did not specify the charges levelled against the workers by the Ha-Meem group.

The agitation for higher minimum wage have forced the indefinite closure of more than 50 apparel factories in Ashulia.

On Thursday,  thousands of law enforcers were seen patrolling the zone and guarding the entrances of the closed factories.

Windy Apparels Ltd and Fountain Garments Manufacturing Ltd previously filed two cases against 249 workers for ‘provocation and creating disruptions’ and suspended 121.

Police detained  ‘Masud’ and ‘Baker’ from Jamgorha area  and five more in the cases.

Seven of the detained have been identified:

– Shoumitro Kumar Das, president of Garment Sramik Front Savar-Ashulia-Dhamrai Regional Committee,

– Garment and Industry Sramik Federation President Rafiqu Islam

– Shwadhin Bangla Garment Sramik Federation Savar-Ashulia-Dhamrai Regional Committee President Al Kamran

– General Secretary ‘Shakil,’ and Bangladesh Trinomul Garment Sramik-Kormochari Federation President Shamim Khan

– Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity Coordinator (Ashulia) Md Ibrahim and Textile Workers Federation Md Mizan.

Garment Workers Trade Union’s General Secretary Khairul Mamun Mintu said six members of his unit were held from Jamgorha during the wee hours of Thursday.

But he could  not identify them.

He said the arrests have spread panic among workers and many have already fled to their villages.

Workers of 25 factories started the agitation on Monday demanding a pay hike and additional perks.

The movement continued despite assurances from commerce minister, shipping minister and state minister for labour. Fifty-five factories were closed down .

The labour leaders have claimed that the workers were united in their stance although the leaders did not support them.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque has said a vested quarter was creating the disorder with an intention to bring down the apparel sector.

Terming the movement ‘absurd,’ he warned the workers of legal consequences if they did not return to duties.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Siddiqur Rahman announced closure of  55 factories on Tuesday and said that the workers would not be paid for the days they have wasted agitating.

The order came into effect from the next day. Many workers returned back but found closure notice hanging at the entrance of the factories.

Fifteen platoons of BGB were deployed in the area along with police, industrial police and armed police . Patrols could be seen on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway from Baipail to Jirab.

Director of Industrial Police-1 Mostafizur Rahman said thousands of law enforcers were deployed at the entrances of the factories and throughout the industrial area to avert any untoward situation.

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