At least 3,000 garment workers of Liberty Fashion Wears Ltd demonstrated yesterday at Zirani Bazar point on the Dhaka-Tangail highway, demanding payment for arrears and the festival bonus, police said.
SM Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said the workers took to the streets and blocked the busy road at around 10am for an hour.
“Police rushed to the scene and used rubber bullets and teargas to bring the situation under control. Nobody was reported hurt,” Badrul told The Daily Star by phone.
Marzina Begum, a helper at the factory, said they received Tk 1,500 in the afternoon. “We waited for the money for two days, but management did not pay us. At last, we took to the streets Monday.”
She said some workers received minor injuries at the clash with the police.
Marzina used to draw a monthly salary of Tk 3,200 and the same amount as over-time from the factory, she said. “But, I did not receive any salary or overtime money in the last two months.”
A manger at Liberty Fashion Wears said at least 3,000 workers of the factory gathered in the factory to demand arrears for two months and the Eid festival bonus in the morning, as management was delaying disbursement of payment to the workers.
“Workers did not receive their salaries in the last two months as Tesco suspended the company's orders for structural flaws in the factory building in June,” the manger said, seeking anonymity.
He said management disbursed Tk 1,500 to each worker as an advance and the owner will pay the rest of the money after Eid.
Khairul Mamoon Mintoo, general secretary to Garment Workers' Trade Union Centre of Savar and Ashulia, said the agitated workers had demonstrated in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office on Friday to demand dues.
The workers had left the BGMEA office with the assurance that they would receive their dues through a negotiation on Sunday, he said.
The workers waited on Sunday, but management did not pay the workers, he added. “Workers began demonstrating on Monday for the arrears and bonuses.”
Liberty Fashion workers demonstrate for dues