30 hurt in RMG worker-cop clash
Ha-Meem Group, one of the major garment makers of the country, suspended production for Monday after garment workers clashed with police in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital, leaving 30 injured.
At least 7,000 workers of Ha-Meem Group and 20 other factories started the demonstration at Narasinghapur around 8:00am demanding a hike in their salaries, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, deputy director of Industrial Police.
Police had to charge batons and fire rubber bullets and teargas shells to bring the situation under control, he said.
Transport movement on the Dhaka-Tangail highway came to a halt immediately due to the clash.
A delegation of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will hold a meeting with Labour and Employment Minister Rajiudin Ahmed Raju Monday to finding out a solution, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy told The Daily Star.
“Production in Ha-Meem Group is suspended only for today (Monday) due to labour unrest,” said AK Azad, managing director of Ha-Meem Group.
“Though I have accepted almost all the demands of the workers, unrest is still going on,” he said.
The group has already increased the attendance bonus to Tk 350 from its previous Tk 300, he mentioned.
Although the government announced new wage board for the workers last week, they are demanding increase in their salaries, he said.
“We will follow whatever the decision the wage board gives us,” he said.
It will take a few months more to hike their salaries according to the new wage board, Azad added.
The workers are now also demanding payment for three days from May 13 to 15 when all the Ashulia-based garment factories remained closed following a labour unrest, Azad claimed.
According to the rules, the workers cannot demand payment for those days as the factories were closed on the basis of ‘no work no pay’, former BGMEA president Murshedy said.
“The problems in Ashulia-based garment factories are deepening day by day, although everybody is trying to solve the problems,” he said.
According to the Industrial Police, workers of Ha-Meem Group and 20 other factories took to the streets at Narasinghapur Monday morning, halting transport movement on Dhaka-Tangail highway.
As police tried to resist them, the workers pelted brick chips targeting the law enforcers that triggered the clash.
Police charged batons and fired rubber bullets and teargas shells and dispersed the agitating workers.
At least 30 people were injured during the clash, witnesses said.
Vehicular movement resumed on the highway around 10:30am.