144 units shut amid unrest
The authorities of over 144 garment factories suspended production of their units in Gazipur for Wednesday when the apparel workers' unrest over salary hike stepped into fifth consecutive day.
At least 25 workers were injured when police charged batons on them as they were demonstrating for more than one hour blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway and Dhaka-Narayanganj link road.
The marauding workers also vandalised at least 10 vehicles and eight factories in Savar and Gazipur.
The workers’ unrest stemmed Saturday from their demand for a minimum wage of Tk 8,114.
Production at hundreds of garment factories in Dhaka and on its outskirts had remained suspended for four days until Tuesday due to the unrest.
The managements of more than 144 RMG units in Gazipur were forced to shut the production of their factories fearing further vandalism, reported our correspondent quoting Mosharraf Hossain, assistant superintendent of Industrial Police.
Today's demonstration started around 8:30am when the workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway, halting transport movement for two hours.
Witnesses said the agitated workers equipped with bamboo and sticks also attacked and vandalised four factories — Mahmud Jeans Limited, Niagara Textile Limited, Apex Limited and Dressman Limited — in Palli Bidyut and Chandra areas of Kaliakoir upazila in the morning.
Later, they put barricades at different points from Konabari to Chandra and vandalised at least 10 vehicles there.
Syed Shamsur Raihan, general manager of Mahmud Jeans Limited, said workers of two garment factories of Noor Group started vandalism in his factory soon after it resumed production in the morning.
Later, they vandalised three adjoining factories, he added.
The agitating workers however moved from the highway around 10:30am responding to a request from police.
Apart from Dhaka-Tangail highway, the workers also blocked Chandra-Ashulia road for two hours, said Md Shamsur Rahman, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police.
At least 20 RMG workers were injured during a 30-minute clash with law enforcers in Jirani area of Gazipur around 9:30am, reports our Savar correspondent.
The clash ensured around 9:30am when several thousand workers of Machihata Group, Pall-Mall Group and Jeans Plus blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway which is the divider point between Gazipur and Savar.
When police tried to free the highway which was blocked for more than one hour using truncheons, the clash erupted.
During the clash, the workers hurled brick chips while the law enforcers retaliated with teargas shells and truncheons.
The aggrieved workers also vandalised at least four garments factory including the three factories mentioned above, said Abdus Sattar, deputy assistant director of Ashulia Industrial police.
Around 5,000 workers of at least seven RMG units gathered in front of Shibu Market and tried to block the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road around 9:30am.
On information, police rushed to the spot and managed to disperse the workers after 15 minutes, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
Around 10:30am, the workers returned to the street and blocked the link road, halting transport movement.
The road communication was restored after an hour when police charged truncheons and fired six rubber bullets and a teargas canister to bring the situation under control.
The workers claimed that at least five of their fellow men were injured in police action.