RMG workers take to street demanding arrears
A readymade garment worker was killed in a clash between police and factory workers at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar yesterday.
The victim is Jasmine Begum, a swing operator at Goldtex Garments Limited, said police.
Asaduzzaman, superintendent of Dhaka Industrial Police (zone-1), said, "She died after hitting an electric pole while trying to escape the clash."
More than 600 workers of Lenny Fashion Ltd and Lenny Apparels Ltd blocked the Nabinagar-Chandra highway in front of the EPZ around 7:30am and started demanding their arrears.
The protestors alleged that the two factories announced the closure of their businesses in January without paying dues to their workers. Amid repeated demonstrations, the authorities paid no heed to it.
According to police, they had to use tear gas and water cannon against the demonstrators as they caused over an 8km-long tailback on both sides of the highway.
SP Asaduzzaman said they repeatedly tried to talk to the protestors and free the busy highway but the demonstrators did not listen to them.
At one stage, after around 45 minutes of road blockade, police fired tear gas and water cannon and brought the situation under control, he added.
At least 10 readymade garment workers were injured during the police attack, said protestors.
Contacted, Kamruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said the body was sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for autopsy.
Contacted, DEPZ's General Manager Abdus Sobhan told The Daily Star that there were about 6,000 workers in the two factories.
Authorities closed the factories last January. The workers of the two factories have already been paid arrears of Tk 45 crore, he said.
Attempts are being made to pay the remaining arrears by selling the two factories. Factories owner and BEPZA are trying together to sell the factories, he added.
There was no due payment date yesterday. Workers gathered in front of the DEPZ this morning by posting on Facebook. They blocked the road, he further added.
"I went in front of them and tried to convince them but the workers continued to protest. Police later removed the workers from the road," he added.