Workers of three garments factories in Ashulia demonstrated demanding their salary for April and earned leave allowance yesterday. In addition, worker's leaders formed a human chain in front of Ashulia Press Club to demand immediate welfare measures during the crisis.
Refusing to join work, around 1500 workers of Magpie Composite Textile Ltd and Magpie Sweater Ltd demonstrated twice, once around their factory site in Ashulia's Kathgora area and then around Bishmail area, where they blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway for a while.
Police charged batons and fired multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse them both times. Five workers sustained minor injuries during the Dhaka-Aricha highway blockade.
Jane Alam Khan, assistant superintendent of police of Dhaka Industrial Police-1, said police had to fire tear gas to free the roads.
Sabbir Hossen Siddique, a general manager of Magpie Composite Textile Ltd, told The Daily Star they could not pay workers' salaries in time due to delay in banking procedures, as salary for April is being paid by government subsidy money. He assured all dues will be cleared by tomorrow or the day after.
Meanwhile, 100 workers of Sarker Steel Ltd in Dhamrai demonstrated in front of their factory demanding three months' arrears, said workers and police sources.
In another incident, some 400 workers of Food and Fashion Ltd demonstrated in front of their factory in Ashulia's Kaichabari area demanding reinstatement of their jobs and factory reopening.
The unrest began after 800 workers of the factory came to join work yesterday, as per management orders. However, as they reached the premise, they found a notice that said the factory will remain closed for an indefinite period.
Contacted, Tanbir Ahmed, an official of the factory, denied to make any comments.
In addition, worker's leaders from at least 22 organisations formed a human chain in front of Ashulia Press Club around 10am yesterday.
They demanded waiving of 40 percent house rent for workers, payment of Eid bonus and clearance of all arrears by April 20.
Rafiqul Islam Sujon, President of Bangladesh Garments and Shilpa Shramik Federation said the decision to waive rent was taken at a meeting last week between worker's leaders, industrial police, local administration, and house owners. However, it is yet to be effective.