Standard Group fire was 'planned' | The Daily Star
12:15 AM, December 01, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:54 PM, December 03, 2013

Standard Group fire was 'planned'

Labour leaders blame arson on outsiders, jobless workers

Clothes burnt in an arson attack on Standard Group's factory complex in Gazipur Friday. The company makes products for leading retailers.  Photo: Palash Khan Clothes burnt in an arson attack on Standard Group's factory complex in Gazipur Friday. The company makes products for leading retailers. Photo: Palash Khan

The fire at Standard Group was a “planned incident” orchestrated by people who want to destroy the country's apparel sector, leaders of several garment workers' associations said yesterday.
Sirajul Islam Rony, president of Bangladesh Jatiya Garments Sramik Karmachari League, said the factory is “one of the most compliant” in the country, with “no signs” of worker unrest.
“It is the outsiders and jobless workers in association with local people who led the mob. We also suspect the involvement of unregistered workers' association.”
Rony, who was also a member of the wage board, said the workers have no right to set factories on fire or vandalise irrespective of their issues with the owners.
Mahtab Uddin, president of Jatiya Garments Sramik Jote Bangladesh, echoed the same, while adding that following the finalisation of minimum wage there is nary an issue that warrants a protest.
He went on to shed light on many unregistered worker organisations whose “sole purpose” is to arrange demonstrations, “whether they are justified or not”.
Generally, the leaders of such organisations have their own interests to further via the protests. “They do not care about the sector, but their own selfish wants.”
Abul Kalam Azad, president of Bangladesh Sramik Karmachari Parishad, urged the government to investigate whether the incident was an outcome of a “conspiracy” or not.
The Bangladesh Textile and Garment Workers League, along with other garment workers' associations, called for the arrest of miscreants after conducting a thorough investigation.
Moyen Uddin Mondol, Bangladesh Sanjukta Garments Sramik Federation, said vandalism or arson on factories is not a proper way to realise the workers' demand.
“Workers' demand can be realised through negotiations in the right way and with right people,” he said, while urging the workers to refrain from any kind of vandalism.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) said if the violence continues, orders from international buyers may shift to alternative destinations and in the process, the country would lose valuable foreign direct investment.
“If our RMG industry falls in peril, it will bring misery to both factory owners as well as workers. So, it is the duty of all to save this big industry for the sake of the country's greater interest,” the chamber said.
Apart from the company's huge financial losses, the future of some 20,000 workers is now uncertain, Bangladesh Chamber of Industries said.
BCI alleged that local and foreign conspiracies worked behind the latest fire incident at Standard Group in Gazipur.

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