Workers of A-One BD Ltd, a closed factory of Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) have been staging a sit-in programme demanding arrears of 10 months.
During the past two days, around 700 workers of the factory gathered in front of Ashulia Press Club for the sit-in which took place from 10am to 4pm.
The demonstrators said that at least 1,100 workers of the factory, which is owned by an Italian named Alessandra Ferry, have been living in a dire situation as they haven't been paid in the last 10 months. Neither the factory authorities, nor the BEPZA authorities or the government have taken any responsibility for their payment, said workers.
The factory has remained closed since March, when the pandemic hit Bangladesh. Wages have remained unpaid since January, the workers said, adding that they have been running from door to door of DEPZ authorities to get the arrears.
Asraf Ali, a worker, said they have held several demonstrations and DEPZ officials have assured them at least 18 times that the arrears will be paid.
"We cannot provide for our families. It has been so difficult for us to survive in the last 10 months," said Asraf, "This sit-in programme will continue until we receive our due payment."
Another worker, Ujjal Hossain, said DEPZ authorities had said that the workers will be paid after auctioning the factory, but then the auction was stayed after a High Court order. "We demand the PM's intervention in this matter," said Uzzal.
Taslima Akter, president of Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, said, "We along with some workers of the factory tried to urgently discuss the matter with DEPZ authorities. They said they can't do anything until the stay order is withdrawn."
Contacted, Abdus Subhan, general manger of DEPZ told the Daily Star that workers will get salaries of three-and-a-half months and they have already paid two months' salaries.
"We were trying to pay the rest of their salary by auctioning the factory but a stay order from the HC on October 20 has stalled this process. The stay order was issued following a dispute with the bank," said Abdus Sobhan.
"We are trying to vacate the stay order through the Attorney General's office," he added, "A hearing may take place next week."