Garment makers platform BGMEA yesterday agreed to pay two months' salaries to the 1,600 workers of Tuba Group, an offer rejected by the workers.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in a statement asked the workers to receive the salaries from the office of the association on Wednesday.
Tuba Group will pay Eid bonuses and the salary of the rest one month later, said SM Mannan Kochi, acting BGMEA president.
The BGMEA will arrange the fund from big garment exporters in loan and Tuba will repay it, Kochi said.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu and labour union leaders.
The BGMEA on Saturday sought emergency funds from some garment companies to clear the dues. On July 31, the association promised to pay three months' arrears, overtime and festival bonuses of the workers in seven workdays.
However, the agitating workers yesterday rejected the BGMEA's offer and vowed to continue their demonstration.
Terming the offer a “joke”, they said the owners should immediately clear all the dues.
“They made similar promises in the last few months but did not keep those,” Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garment Workers Unity Forum, told The Daily Star.
The protesters also vowed to lay siege to the BGMEA office in the capital tomorrow and organise rallies and processions today.
The workers under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee made the announcement at a press meet at Hossain Super Market, which houses three units of Tuba Group, on Pragati Sarani.
On July 28, workers of five factories owned by Tuba went on a hunger strike for the due payments of more than Tk 4.14 crore.
As the mass hunger strike entered the seventh day yesterday, the health risks of the workers were growing.
With 17 workers already hospitalised, physicians at the spot said the workers needed to break their hunger strike immediately.
“The workers should agree with the decision of the BGMEA as it was taken in consensus with all stakeholders,” said Sirajul Islam Rony, a trade union leader, who was present at the meeting.
On July 25, the aggrieved workers confined Laili Begum, mother-in-law of Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, on the eighth floor of Hossain Super Market, to press home their demand.
On February 9, Delwar was sent to jail in a case filed in connection with the Tazreen Fashions (owned by Delwar) fire that killed 112 workers on November 24, 2012.
A Tuba Group worker observes hunger strike demanding arrears while her child looks on, in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Amran Hossain