RMG workers hold the key | The Daily Star
12:44 AM, June 27, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:39 AM, June 27, 2013

Gazpiur City Polls

RMG workers hold the key

The Gazipur City Corporation polls certainly have a unique story to tell, as almost one-fourth of the voters there come from different parts of the country.
A significant number of voters in GCC, which includes Tongi area, are garment workers coming from various districts. Alongside the locals, they will also cast votes to determine the outcome.
More than 2,000 readymade garment factories, employing about 10 lakh workers, are located in Gazipur and Tongi, the biggest industrial zones of the country.
Of them, 2.5 lakh workers have been registered as voters. The GCC has a total of 10 lakh voters.
This particular section of workers has now become the centre of attention and is being treated as VIPs by the ruling and opposition alliances-backed mayoral aspirants.
Pro-Awami League labour organisation while campaigning for its candidate has been projecting the facilities the government provided for garment workers.
"We have been highlighting facilities like increased minimum wages and implementation of maternity leave to win over the workers," said Anisur Rahman, president of Gazipur unit Sramik League.
He hopes their favourite would be able to secure eighty percent votes of this section.
Workers of the pro-ruling alliance camp have also been reminding the workers of BNP-led alliance's "misdeeds" like hartals, and grenade and bomb attacks that disrupted the garment industry badly.
The female workers, who are the majority in number, are being warned of the Hefajat-e Islam factor. They are told that female workers would not be able to work in factories if they vote for the opposition-backed candidate, for whom Hefajat has been campaigning.
On the other hand, pro-BNP labour organisations are using the Rana Plaza tragedy and the government's inaction towards it while electioneering for their favourite.
They are reminding the workers of police actions and harassment on the workers who staged demonstrations to ensure their rights during the incumbent government's tenure.
"If our candidate wins, we will arrange pure drinking water, food and accommodation for all workers," said Billal Hossain Bepari, organising secretary of Gazipur district unit Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal.
He also expressed the hope to get maximum votes from the workers.
The workers, however, know better who to vote.
"We have seen who did what for us, and this will be the determining factor in the polls," said garment worker Shafiqul Islam.
Meanwhile, campaigners of both the camps fear that many voters may go to their villages, as it will be weekend on June 5 while the next day a holiday for the polls.

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