Garment manufacturers have suspended production at around 400 factories in Gazipur for Saturday in the face of labour agitation.
The workers staged the demonstration demanding a day leave to join a grand rally organised by Sramik Oikya Parishad, a platform of 52 garment worker welfare unions.
The parishad arranged the public meeting at the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan Saturday afternoon to press home their demands including raising minimum monthly salary to Tk 8,000.
The road communication on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for more than three hours till 11:30am following the agitation.
At least three factories were vandalised at Kaliakoir in Gazipur and five at Jiranibazar in Savar, report our correspondents.
The demonstration started in Gazipur as over 10,000 workers of different garment units in Kashimpur, Konabari and Chandra took to the highway around 8:30am, said Mosharraf Hossain, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police.
Two hours later, the demonstration spread to Savar, on the outskirts of the capital.
The workers of Divine Textile Ltd, Inter-Stop Apparel and Eye-Moon Textile first took to the highway in the morning, halting vehicular movements, said the assistant superintendent.
Later, workers of other adjacent factories joined the agitators, he said adding that they vandalised three factories in Kaliakoir.
Most of the garment factories in Kaliakoir were declared closed as the agitation gathered momentum, Omar Faruque, officer-in-charge of Kaliakoir Police Station, told our Gazipur correspondent.
There are around three hundred garment factories in the upazila.
Fearing more vandalism, the authorities of around 400 units including in Bagherbazar, Shirirchala, Natunbazar areas in the district suspended their production for Saturday, Mosharraf Hossain said.
In Chandra and its surrounding areas, factories including Imon Textile Limited and Mahmud Jeans Ltd were also declared closed following the agitation, said Syed Shamsur Raihan, general manager (admin) of Mahmud Jeans Ltd.
Owners of Danimac Denim Ltd and Hams Fashion Ltd and other factories were forced to declare their installations closed as workers in Sripur also started demonstrations hearing about the agitation in Gazipur, said Md Hasan, a manager of Aaman Textile Ltd in Boiragichala area.
The road communications however resumed when the law enforcers managed to convince them to free the highway considering peoples’ sufferings.
The workers are now on way to Dhaka to attend the rally, he told our Gazipur correspondent around 11:30am.
The protest spread to Savar around 10:30am when the workers of Machigata Sweater Limited waged demonstration on the highway at Jiranibazar point over the same demand.
During the hour-long agitation, the workers vandalised five to six factories in Kabirpur, Boraipara and Jirani areas.
Later, workers of adjoining garments joined the agitating ones mounting the number to nearly 3,000 and prompting the authorities of four to five factories to shut their units for today.
On information, police reached the spot and managed to free the road around 11:45am, said Farhad Hossain, a traffic inspector.