Garment makers face huge losses as labour unrest continues
Ashulia-based garment makers fear a massive loss due to the continuous production halt following the latest spell of labour unrest.
Production at minimum 100 garment factories remained suspended yesterday as the workers continued their demonstrations and refused to join work over the demand for a wage hike.
Some of the factory owners had to keep their units shut on Tuesday and Wednesday also following fresh unrest.
“If production comes to a halt at all my factories, I will face a loss of Tk 40 lakh per day, and will also have to send the goods through expensive air shipments,” said Ismail Hossain, managing director of Sharmin Group.
He said four of his five factories were active yesterday but one could not operate due to the unrest.
Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, a platform of garment workers, said the government should investigate the matter and find why the incidents of unrest take place only in Ashulia.
“Garment factories are running well in other parts of the country,” she said.
The government should look into why unrest occurs even after plans for a new wage board have been announced, she added.
"I think there is a serious problem which needs an immediate solution as the sector is losing production everyday.”
The workers have been demonstrating for several weeks demanding a hike in their salaries. All the garment factories in Ashulia opened around 8am yesterday following assurances of security from the government.
But workers of at least 100 garment factories refused to join work and left the workplaces around 8:30am, said Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“The Ashulia-based garment makers have not been able to run the factories for shutdowns and unrest all through May. Now they will have to send the goods through expensive air shipments for delayed production,” Mahmood said.
"So the losses will be huge," he added.
Locals said the workers took to the streets and blocked Abdullahpur-Baipail road in the morning. However, police brought the situation under control within half an hour.
Mustafizur Rahman, director (Dhaka range) of industrial police in Ashulia, said the workers tried to barricade the road but left the scene in the face of police actions.
On May 13, garment makers decided to close around 200 factories in Ashulia for an indefinite period due to continued labour unrest over the demand for wage hike and other benefits.
After three days, the factories were reopened following the government's assurances of providing security to the factories.