Demand for Tk 70cr arrears: Garment workers stage sit-in before Srama Bhaban
Nearly 1,000 workers of Dird Composite Textiles Ltd staged a sit-in in front of the Department for Inspection of Factories and Establishments (Dife) and the Department of Labour (DoL) yesterday, demanding arrears amounting to nearly Tk 70 crore.
The factory, which used to export garment items, mainly jackets and t-shirts, has 5,129 workers.
Nearly 1,000 workers gathered in front of the Srama Bhaban at the city's Bijoy Nagar area, where the Dife and DoL offices are located.
A Dife director, on condition of anonymity, said the workers had initially confined senior officials of the Dife and DoL, but later let them go.
The workers were laid off through an announcement on September 23, citing losses incurred by the company and lower inflow of work orders from international clothing retailers and brands.
Nearly 1,000 workers came in front of the Srama Bhaban at around 11:00am and were present there till this report was filed around 8:10pm as per Md Shakhaot Hossain Rony, a senior executive office of the company.
The remaining workers were in front of the factory, located at Rajendrapur under Gazipur district, for realising the arrears, said Rony.
In the afternoon, 10 representatives of the workers had gone to meet State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian, who sought to settle the matter.
On November 28, the company management, union leaders and high-ups of the ministry reached a settlement on the payment of Tk 30 crore, said a senior factory official asking not to be named.
They had signed an agreement that day in the presence of Sufian to pay it in phases by April next year, he said.
Up until now, the company has paid only Tk 4 crore.
Md Towhidur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Apparel Workers Federation, who also visited the demonstrations, said the arrears amounted to nearly Tk 70 crore but after negotiations with union leaders, Tk 52 crore was fixed.
However, unfortunately another group of union leaders negotiated the issue and settled on Tk 30 crore, Rahman said.
The government should investigate the matter seriously and pay the workers ensuring that nobody was deprived as many of the workers were employed there for many years, he said.