Several hundred workers of five garment factories of Tuba Group, the parent company of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, blocked the Kuril Bishwa Road in the capital yesterday morning, demanding payment of two months' arrears and the salary of the first 15 days of the current month apart from the Eid bonus.
The half-an-hour blockade caused huge traffic chaos in the area before police rushed in and broke up the agitators, firing water cannons and using batons, said Abdul Jalil, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station. At least 10 demonstrators were injured, the workers claimed.
The protestors said they were not paid the salaries of May and June despite assurances from the authorities twice. Yesterday, about 400 to 500 workers gathered to collect the salaries as per an earlier assurance but the authorities broke the promise again, and the workers took to the street for that, they added.
Police said they requested the workers to leave the road, as it was creating traffic congestion, but they got agitated, tried to damage vehicles, and hurled bricks at them, forcing them to use water cannons.
Tazreen Fashions' owner Delwar Hossain is now in jail in the cases filed over the deadly fire at the factory in Ashulia in November 2012, which killed 112 workers.
Babul Akhter, president of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, said around 1,600 workers were employed in the five factories of Tuba Group in Badda, and they had been staging protests since June for their arrears.
Babul said that after a consensus among Tazreen owners, BGMEA and workers' leaders in late June, the authorities promised to pay the salary of May on July 3, the salary for June on July 15, and the salary for the first half of July and Eid bonus on June 26, but the workers did were not even yesterday.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told The Daily Star that they had met the authorities of Tuba Group but could not work out a solution. He said as the owner of the group was in jail, the banks did not give them loans so that they could pay the workers.