Waterways workers in Barishal held a rally yesterday, demanding resumption of passenger launches.
Under the banner of Bangladesh Naujan Sramik Federation (BNSF), they staged the event at Barishal River Port.
Workers said they are living in financial difficulties due to suspension of vessel operation. If the restriction imposed on passenger vessels is not withdrawn soon, they will wage a tougher movement, they warned.
"We want launches to be allowed on waterways in accordance with the health rules," said a protester.
BNSF Barishal unit president Sheikh Abul Hashem presided over the event.
He said, "If launch owners do not pay the workers salaries, bonuses and if the government does not allow the operation of launches, we will enforce a blockade for cargo vessels."
Speakers also alleged that launch owners never speak on behalf of workers as they are "loyal to the government".
BNSF organising secretary Asaduzzaman assured, "We will run launches following all government instructions."
Speakers at the rally said around 30,000 launch workers in different areas of the country are facing hardship due to the ongoing shutdown.