Hundreds of garment workers took to the streets in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur yesterday, protesting “discrimination” in pay structure set by the new wage board.
Following the demonstrations, around 10 factories in Ashulia and two in Savar were shut, according to workers' leaders.
A total of around 50 factories in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur remained closed, said Md Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Industrial Police said workers of two RMG factories of Standard Group first blocked a road in Savar's Hemayetpur area around 8am.
Later, workers of other nearby factories started joining them one by one, they said.
The demonstrators, mostly machine operators and senior operators, said theirs and entry-level workers' average salaries would not increase at equal ratios.
Kohinur Akter, a senior operator of a Standard Group factory, said, “A helper of an operator will get a salary of Tk 8,000.”
Khokon, another worker, said the authorities told them that their salaries will increase between Tk 500 and Tk 700 only.
On the other hand, an entry-level worker's salaries will go up by Tk 2,700, said Khokon.
The new wage structure is scheduled to be implemented from December, said the workers.
Workers of Dipta Apparels Ltd in the area told The Daily Star that the factory was declared closed for the day although they did not carry out any violence.
Abdur Razzak, unit head of a factory of Standard Group, said they have nothing to do in this regard as the new wage board fixed the pay structure.
“To avert any untoward incident, we kept our factory closed for the day.”
Abdur Razzak said they hope that the workers will join their workplace tomorrow.
Seeking anonymity, a workers' leader of Ashulia, said at least 10 factories in the area were declared closed due to the protests.
Sana Shaminur Rahman, superintendent of Dhaka Industrial Police, said additional police were deployed in those areas to avert any untoward incident.