Friday , 25 June 2021
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Ashulia garment factories charge 249 workers for ‘instigating’ unrest

  Savar Correspondent

 Authorities of two readymade garment factories in Ashulia have initiated two cases against 249 workers on charges of ‘instigating’ unrest for a hike in minimum wage and ‘indiscipline’.

Windy Apparels Limited Assistant General Manager Masud Rana and Fountain Garments Manufacturing Limited Manager (Administration) Nazmul Haque have filed the cases naming 39 workers.

Ashulia Police Station Inspector AKM Shamim Hasan said on Wednesday that the workers have been accused of vandalism inside the factories, attempts to create unrest and instigating unrest in both cases.

“The case dossiers said the accused workers have been identified by closed-circuit TV camera footage,” he said.

The factory authorities submitted the complaints on Tuesday midnight and those were recorded as cases on Wednesday morning, according to the inspector.

Among those accused in Windy Apparels case, police have arrested the factory’s Cutting Operator ‘Masud’, 28, and Cutting Assistant ‘Baker’, 25.

Windy Apparels authorities also suspended 121 workers for allegedly creating disorder. A notice with their names and photos was put up at the factory gate on Wednesday morning.

The steps by the factories come amid a standoff due to unrest in the RMG factories in Ashulia and the rigid stance of the authorities against the demonstrators.

Workers of Windy Apparels and Fountain Garments at Jamgarha in Ashulia enforced a strike for a 16-point charter of demand, including a minimum Tk 16,000 in monthly wage, on Dec 12. The minimum wage was hiked to Tk 5,300 for the last time in November 2013.

The workers of the two factories clashed with police at one stage of the demonstration and allegedly went on the rampage inside the factories.

The unrest spread to other factories in the industrial hub on the outskirts of Dhaka later.

Workers of 25 factories stopped working on Monday and started demonstration for a hike in the minimum wage.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu sat with the workers’ organisations, but failed to reach a settlement.

On Tuesday, the workers of 55 factories stopped work.

The owners then declared their manufacturing plants shut. The owners’ lobby, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), says they decided to keep the factory doors closed until the workers resume work and cut their pay.

BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman argued that the minimum wage was hiked three years ago, and the law allows the entrepreneurs not to revise pay in five years from a revision.

The BGMEA decision was implemented from Wednesday. Many workers returned home after seeing the notices at the factory gates in the morning.

The government has deployed 15 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Ashulia to keep the situation under control.

Strengthened teams of police, Industrial Police and Armed Police Battalion are patrolling the Baipail-Jirabo road.

Amidst the mounted tension, police have made announcements in loudspeakers to stop the workers from demonstrating. The workers have been threatened with legal action over unrest.

Leaders of several workers’ associations said they do not support the ongoing movement but pointed out that the workers themselves have stopped working.

Referring to their claim, State Minister Chunnu on Tuesday said ‘some groups’ have been creating the unrest with intentions to damage the export-focused sector.

He termed the workers’ movement ‘illegal’ and threatened them with legal action if they do not resume work.

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