Garment workers of several factories in Savar and Gazipur today demonstrated, demanding full salary for April and May.
In a bid to avert job cuts and temporary closures during Covid-19 outbreak, the government, on April 29, directed RMG factory owners to pay their workers 60 percent salary for April. The union leaders, however, demanded full payment for all the workers.
The government decision came against the backdrop of unrest caused by layoffs in RMG factories and temporary shutdowns in different industrial belts in and outside Dhaka after reopening from April 26, following two weeks' gap.
Today, several hundred workers of 4-5 factories took to a street at Zirani of Kashimpur area in Gazipur and started demonstrating amid the countrywide shutdown, our Savar correspondent reports.
"Workers took to the street, as they want 100 percent salary. The government and factory owners will have to pay full salaries," said Khairul Mamun Mintu, organising secretary of Bangladesh Garment Workers Trade Union Centre.
The agitating workers were seen blocking the Chandra-Nabinagar highway and set a tyre on fire in Zirani area in the morning, our staff photographer reported from the spot.
The workers damaged several vehicles throwing brick chips.
Later, police fired at least 20 rounds of tear shells and cleared the road around 2pm by dispersing the workers, Susanta Sarker, additional superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, told our Gazipur correspondent.
Susanta Sarker also claimed that at least 15 policemen were injured as the workers threw brick chips at them. They were given treatment at several hospitals, he added.
Rashedul Islam, manger (HR) of a garment factory in Gazipur, said they wanted to provide workers' salaries as per the government's decision but the workers started demonstrating, and did not join work.
Jane Alam Khan, assistant superintendent of police of Dhaka Industrial Police-1, said workers of some garment factories in Savar's Ashulia abstained from work and took to a street with the same demand.
"We are trying to make them return to work and talk to authorities to solve the problem," said the police official.