The agitating workers of Tuba Group will lay siege to the office of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today.
Their demonstration in front of the BGMEA Bhaban in the capital's Karwan Bazar area will begin around 11:00am, workers said.
A majority of 1,600 workers from five Tuba factories have been on hunger strike since July 28, a day before Eid-ul-Fitr, for three months' arrears and festival bonus.
On Sunday, the garment makers' association in a statement asked the workers to receive two months' salaries from its office on Wednesday (tomorrow), and said the Tuba Group will pay Eid bonus and the rest of the salaries later.
“We don't agree with the BGMEA,” Khokon Mia, a senior operator of the group, said yesterday. “We want the full payment of three months and festival bonus.”
Asma Akhtar, a 24-year-old worker, said, “We don't want any empty assurances. Our owners and the BGMEA have cheated us many times before and they will again betray us if we break our fast now.”
“If necessary,” said Jyoti Begum, 30, who has been fasting since Day One, said, “I will commit suicide to set an example here.
“Maybe the authorities will begin to understand our hardship if some of us die here. We are dying of hunger anyway.”
At least 37 workers collapsed yesterday while two of them were in critical condition. So far some 140 protesters have fallen sick since the fasting began at Badda's Hossain Market that houses their factories.
“Many workers are already malnourished. They will become vulnerable to different communicable diseases, as the fasting will damage their immune system,” said Harun, a physician who attended the patients.
Harun said he had found three patients with suspected tuberculosis and sent them home, fearing the disease may spread among others.
To express solidarity with the workers, several left parties under the banner of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha yesterday held a rally in front of Jatiya Press Club and marched towards the Bangladesh Secretariat to lay siege to the labour ministry.
Police stopped their procession near gate No 5 of the secretariat, leading to a scuffle and injuring about five activists.