Production in at least 60 garment factories at Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka was suspended yesterday due to labour unrest, said BGMEA President Atiqul Islam.
Some affected garment owners announced the closure of their factories for an indefinite period as agitated workers had been vandalising the factories demanding a wage hike, lunch allowance and other facilities.
Production was suspended partly in Ha-Meem Group, Ananta Garment, Medlar Apparels, Radiance Garment and Bando Design.
The BGMEA president, however, said production in other parts of the country had been going on smoothly.
Meanwhile, the Ashulia based garment makers last night decided to reopen all the factories from today following assurances of security by the government.
Atiqul Islam announced the decision at a press briefing at the trade body's Karwan Bazar office after a meeting with Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju and Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan. Owners of the affected garment units were present.
BGMEA Vice-president Reaz-Bin-Mahmood said some outsiders set fire to a warehouse of Bando Design in the morning. A group of workers managed to douse the blaze.
Sharmin Group was closed sine die on Tuesday. Its managing director Ismail Hossain said he had met almost all demands of the workers, but still they had vandalised the factory.
The management of the group filed cases with Ashulia Police Station, accusing 93 workers of looting and vandalising the factory that day.
“I am worried now as I have to ship the goods on time to the buyers,” Hossain said, adding that he would have to count losses for expensive air shipment now.
Some workers tried to demonstrate in front of the closed factories in the morning, said Mustafizur Rahman, director (Dhaka range) of Industrial Police at Ashulia.
The law enforcers dispersed the workers without any untoward incident taking place, he added.
The workers, said police, had been coming to the factories every morning and demonstrating either for a re-opening of the factories or for increases in their wages and lunch allowances.
BGMEA PRESS BRIEFING
BGMEA chief Atiqul Islam said the government had already finalised the wage board for garment workers and the details would be published soon through a gazette notification.
“The garment sector is a national asset now. The government will lend all kinds of support to protect the sector,” assured Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir.
The labour and employment minister said Bangladesh had been facing challenges over retention of its GSP facility. At such a critical time, a vested quarter is trying to destabilise the garment sector, he complained.