Workers of a Savar apparel factory demonstrate for salary
Workers of a garment factory in Savar demonstrated in front of their factory gate yesterday, demanding salaries for the month of June and reopening of the factory.
Over 2,000 workers of Dipta Apparels in Shampur area embarked on the protest after blocking a local road around 10:00am and were continuing to do so at the time this report was filed at about 2:30pm.
The workers said there were around 4,000 employed by the factory. On the first of July, the factory authority announced a three-day shutdown citing power outages.
On July 3, the factory authority declared that the closure would be continued till July 11, making yesterday the deadline for reopening.
"As we rushed to the factory today [Sunday] to join work, we found another notice at the factory gate saying the factory has been shut down for an indefinite period as electricity lines were cut off," one of the workers said.
The factory authority shut the factory down without paying last month's salary, the workers said.
"On finding the factory shutdown notice, we took to the streets demanding reopening of the factory and last month's salary," said another worker, adding that they were also demanding bonuses and the current month's salary before Eid-ul-Azha.
Rafiqul Islam Sujon, president of the Bangladesh Garments and Shilpa Sramik Federation, said the workers protested as they were worried over losing their jobs and as the factory authority declared the shutdown for an indefinite period.
Kabir Hossain, vice president of the National Garment Workers' Federation, who was on the spot, told The Daily Star that though the matter was yet to be settled, the workers left the road around 2:30pm due to heavy rain.
"However, the factory authority as well as police informed us that workers' salaries will be paid very soon and the factory will be reopened by next Sunday," he added.
The Daily Star could not reach the factory's production manager, Lokman Hossain, despite repeated phone calls and text messages.
Contacted, Arif Hossen, assistant superintend of police of Dhaka Industrial Police-1, said the factory authority assured the workers that they would receive last month's salary very soon as it was already in the process of being sent to the workers' bank accounts.
On the shutdown notice, he said the factory did not have that much work orders in the past couple of months and were facing issues over electricity and gas connections.
"We are looking into the matter," he added.