Labour unrest halts Ha-Meem
Ha-Meem Group, a leading garment maker, and several other factories in Ashulia suspended operations yesterday after workers clashed with police, leaving 30 people injured.
At least 7,000 workers of Ha-Meem and other factories began demonstrating at Narasinghapur around 8am, demanding a hike in salaries, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, deputy director of Industrial Police.
Police clubbed the workers and fired rubber bullets and teargas shells to control the situation, he said. Traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail highway came to a halt.
“We have suspended production due to labour unrest,” said AK Azad, managing director of Ha-Meem Group.
“Although I have accepted almost all the demands of the workers, unrest is still continuing,” he said. The company has already increased the attendance bonus to Tk 350 from Tk 300 previously, he added.
Although the government announced a new wage board for the workers last week, they are still demanding a salary hike, he said. “We will follow whatever decision the wage board gives us.”
It will take more months to increase their salaries according to the new wage board, Azad added.
The workers are also demanding payment for the three days (May 13-15) when all Ashulia-based factories remained closed following labour unrest, Azad said
Workers cannot demand payment for the days when the factories were closed on the basis of 'no work no pay', Abdus Salam Murshedy, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“The problems in the Ashulia garment factories are deepening by the day, although everybody is trying to solve them,” he said. He said two other factories -- Medlar and Gilden Shahriar Fabrics -- have been closed for some days now.
A delegation of BGMEA will hold a meeting with Labour and Employment Minister Rajiudin Ahmed Raju on Monday to find a solution, Murshedy told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, the Narayanganj unit of Textile Garments Workers Federation formed a human chain in front of Narayanganj Press Club for an hour from 11am demanding a safer workplace.