Tazreen owner freed after 17hrs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 14, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:37 PM, October 18, 2013

Tazreen owner freed after 17hrs

Workers held him hostage at office for Eid bonus

Garment workers of Tuba Group finally drew their Eid bonus yesterday, after holding the owner, Delwar Hossain, hostage for over 17 hours.
They released Delwar around 2:30am from his office at North Badda's Hossain Market in the presence of policemen, said Iqbal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station.
Delwar, also owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia, where 112 workers were killed in a deadly fire last November, has three garment units in Hossain Market.
He had been held by workers on the third floor and was freed only after the management paid bonuses to the workers.
Law enforcers were present there at that time to prevent any untoward situation.
The authorities closed the garment units around 3:00pm on Friday, a little earlier than usual, saying there was less work for the day, said a worker of Tuba Textile, one of the three factories, wishing anonymity.
"The next morning when we came to work, we saw there was no machine on the third and fourth floors.  We heard that the owner had sold the machines," he said.
When Delwar went to the market around 8:30am on the day, workers asked him as to when they would get their Eid bonuses. He told them he did not have money and so would not be able to give them bonus, the garment worker added.
Enraged, the workers locked Delwar in his office.
"We heard that the factories would be closed and we were worried that many of us would be laid off without following rules."
The agitating workers demanded that the authorities assure them of their jobs and if any worker is fired, he should be given his salary, bonus and other benefits as per the rules.
Police, Delwar's relatives and representatives of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) then tried to negotiate his release with the workers.
When he gave an undertaking that he would follow the rules if he shut down the factories, and started disbursing bonus, he was finally allowed to leave the office.
Workers of another garment unit of Tuba Group in Uttar Badda's Fuji Tower also demonstrated demanding Eid bonus.
They confined the factory manager, Abdul Malek, to the unit around 11:00pm on Saturday. On receiving their Eid bonuses, the workers released him.
Babul Akhter, president of Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, told The Daily Star that the owner of Tuba Group had sold machines at night because he intended not to pay bonuses to the workers.
Human Resource Manager of the group Jannat Fatema, however, said the machines on the third and fourth floors of the market had been sold since the authorities wanted to shift the units from the rented floors.
The group had garment units on eight floors of the building. The remaining six floors -- from seventh to 12th -- are of its own, said Fatema.
Delwar could not be reached by phone for comments.
Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of BGMEA, a platform of garment makers, said there had been a misunderstanding between the management and workers over salary disbursement.
"Someone spread a rumour that the owner would give salaries to the officials first and then to the workers. This was the reason behind the demonstration," Azim said.

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